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To view a timeline of the center's history, click here.

Three decades ago, local community efforts established the center, which then was one of the first of its kind in the region and the United States. Once an unknown or misunderstood service, adult day care is now recognized as an essential community service in Hampton Roads and the nation. It is, according to the National Council on Aging, the fastest growing option of care for older adults in this country.

The Center had a modest beginning in 1975, it was located in Bayside Community Christian Church on Greenwell Road and was originally named as the Center of Leisure Activities for Older Adults.

In 1983, the center moved to the ground of Saint Nicholas Catholic Church to secure additional space and a more central location for participants now traveling from Chesapeake, Norfolk, as well as Virginia Beach. While this space was then adequate at 5,100 square feet, the center today includes a well-lit foyer, a multi-purpose activity center, nursing station, conference room, terrace and garden area. Future plans include a covered carport and signage over entrance and for the street.

The Center is supported financially by its participants' fees, community donations, fundraising activities and federal/state funds, when applicable. Specifically, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is a supporting agency to the center.

Professional Affiliations
  • Alzheimer's Association - Hampton Roads Chapter
  • Hampton Roads Caregivers Coalition
  • National Adult Day Services Association
  • National Council on the Aging
  • Virginia Adult Day Services Association
  • Virginia Beach Task Force on Aging
  • Virginia Coalition for the Aging


Mary Ellen Clibourne Cox

In the mid 1970's, when the Area Agency on Aging (SEVAMP Senior services) was developing, Mary Ellen seized the opportunity to help older adults and has never ceased her efforts to improve services for them. In 1987, the center was renamed in honor of Cox?s work on behalf of the elderly and is very well known at the state and national level.

Later, she helped develop Virginia Beach?s first assisted living facility for older persons needing various levels of care; Russell House, Marian Manor and more recently, Sullivan House. She secured funding for two supervised housing projects serving nearly 200 low income elderly. As a member of the Governor?s Advisory Board on Aging for over 20 years, Mary Ellen has helped ensure positive consideration of legislation affecting older Virginians. She is an active member of the Virginia Coalition an Aging, the Advisory Council for the Virginia Center on Aging, and has served as a delegate to the White House Conferences on Aging.

Sharon E. F.Goumas

Sharon is an honors graduate of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, with a double major in Administration and Therapeutic Recreation. She has also earned certificates from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia: Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management and Grantsmanship and Arbitration & Mediation.

Currently, Sharon is pursuing her Certificate of Nonprofit Management, sponsored by the Academy of Nonprofit Excellence, a partnership between the Norfolk Foundation and Tidewater Community College (TCC). Sharon is a National Certified Trainer for Adult Day Services Program Aides. On January 29th 2005, she organized the first Adult Day Services Staff Program for Hampton Roads at the Cox Center. With 35 area participants and professional speakers, the training session was a huge success and plans are already underway for the next program.

In addition to being the Director of the M.E. Cox Center, Sharon presently serves as the treasurer of the Hampton Roads Caregivers Coalition (she was founding member and has held other offices) and on the Senior Services Advisory Council. She is also a member of the following organizations: Virginia Beach Task Force on Aging, Virginia Adult Day Services Association (Past President) and National Adult Day Services Association.

Previous affiliations include: Easter Seals Advisory Committee on Adult Daycare, the Alzheimer?s Association?s Patient and Family Services Committee and the Alzheimer?s Association?s Development Committee.