Mapping Georgetown: Touched by Angels at Georgetown Senior Center

It is often said that “a society is measured by how it cares for its elderly citizens.” And Georgetown certainly measures up in how much we care for our cherished elders.

This week’s Mapping Georgetown story comes from Christian Peterson who drives a van for Touched by an Angel and helps seniors at the Georgetown Senior Center, headquartered at 3240 O St. NW. With his joy in helping the center’s elderly members, Peterson gives us an overflowing measure of inspirational joy for the holiday season, for which we’re most thankful.

The Georgetown Senior Center provides a regular mid-day retreat for area seniors. It meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from September through June at either St.John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown or St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in upper NW, Washington, D.C. In the late morning, a Center-owned van transports members from their homes to the center’s meeting place to enjoy exercise sessions, delicious home-cooked meals, enrichment programs (such as book talks, musical entertainment, current events discussions, etc.) and then returns members to their homes later in the afternoon.

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown.


Seniors enjoy a Christmas Luncheon at St. Johns Church. Photo by Jorge Bernardo.

Here’s what Christian told us about why his work for the center is so fulfilling:

“My interview with my coworker Jorge lasted five minutes. We found out we grew up in the same town and went to the same church. My first day at work was having lunch with everyone. In the first year I was working with the group, we bought a new bus. One of the seniors donated the money for it. We bought it from a dealership in Richmond, Virginia. Driving back by myself during a hurricane is something I’ll never forget. In the years I’ve worked with the seniors, I’ve gotten to know them on a first-name basis. I go to their house to pick them up, share food with them and sometimes… go to their funerals. The Georgetown Senior Center is a community until the very end.”

Christian Peterson’s Mapping Georgetown Story

Story-map from Christian Peterson. Courtesy Mapping Georgetown.

“For every season there is a time to remember.”

My first venture into Washington, D.C.,  was purely by accident. I started kayaking by Carderock (Potomac, Maryland) and got caught up in the current.

I had no choice but to follow the river and ended up down by the marina.

Exploring D.C. in shorts and a life vest was how I spent the afternoon, while waiting for my ride back.

It was a very cold day in April.

Virginia Luce Allen, Founder of the Georgetown Senior Center

As a Georgetown resident, you hear a continuous litany of  life-changing stories about the care and dedication of the Georgetown Senior Center.

The center’s founder, Virginia Luce Allen, is a legend in this town and beyond.

According to the center, “Virginia Luce Allen, a long-time Georgetown resident, was moved by an article, written in the Washington Post by reporter Bob Woodward, about how a then-federally funded senior center was closing. She was determined to re-open it. Ms. Allen was concerned about what she called a “plague of loneliness.” She felt that each of us is at risk for becoming isolated. Driven by boundless compassion and energy, Ms. Allen started the Center in 1982 and ran it until her death at age 92 in 2009. Today, as in the past, her center is a haven for bringing people together and creating fun times and new memories.”

Virginia Luce Allen (1919-2009) was a fourth-generation resident of the Georgetown neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C. She worked as an interior designer at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She retired from HUD in 1978 and in 1981 founded the Georgetown Senior Center at St. John’s Episcopal Church, serving for many years as its director. She died in 2009.

The Georgetown Senior Center is a private, nonprofit organization established to provide warmth, companionship, and intellectual stimulation to elderly residents of Georgetown and upper, NW. Operations are handled by a dedicated cadre of volunteers who manage the regular calendar of meetings and activities. Many volunteers also serve on the organization’s board of directors. 

When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength in any community is in the hearts, minds and desires of those who dwell there.

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project, visit

To submit your Georgetown recollections to Mapping Georgetown, visit  or visit the Georgetown Public Library to pick up a physical map-story form to fill out.

Marilyn Butler can be reached at


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