SCV Senior Center Turns 30
Senior Center celebrates its anniversary by presenting awards for three decades of volunteering.
By Anne Marie Mills
Ensuing independence, dignity and a quality of life for a nation, the executive directors gave Steven Linares of the first division (Big Red 1) of the U.S. Army receives the award for Pride, Appreciation and Respect from Brad Berens of the Senior Center.
(Photo: Will Davison/The Signal)
Signal Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
he Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center celebrated 30 years of service to the community Friday at the annual meeting of the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging. The highlight of the event was an awards ceremony honoring the volunteers who have given their time over the decades since the Senior Center's inception.
"We are presenting awards to a variety of people who have been a part of the 30-year journey, both past and present, who have helped us earn the distinction of being one of the most elder-friendly communities in the nation," Brad Berens, executive director of the Senior Center, said.
"This was a very important event because there were so many seniors to honor going back to 30 years," said former Santa Clarita mayor Jo Anne Darcy. "I was there 30 years ago and I helped them get started with the first subcommittee. I try to help them every year, the needs grow bigger as the organization grows bigger."
The evening also marked the official launching of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Foundation.
"The foundation will give us the ability to provide for our community's elders needs that witnesses double digit growth in our programs and services annually," Berens said.
Among the guests was Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
"One of the best improvements you can make to the Senior Center is to get your friends and neighbors to come here and enjoy and use the center and all that it has to offer," Antonovich said as he addressed the audience, adding that many communities do not have such facilities to serve their older residents.
"The Senior Center is an integral part of our community," Antonovich said.
Also in attendance were: state Sen. George C. Runner; Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha McLean; U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon's field representative Linda Lambourne; and Pam Ingram, of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
"Our 30th year anniversary symbolizes our agency as a cornerstone of the community and as a vital organization that ensures the quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley that includes everyone on the aging continuum," Berens said. "In 30 years, it is estimated that we have made fundamental differences in the lives of tens of thousands of our community's residents who are our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We have grown to provide one of the largest spectrums of services for the elderly in the state of California."
Mayor Laurene Weste swore in the members of the board of directors for 2006: Erica Betz, Paul Boog, Dalton Celauis, Bob Endress, Ray Graeber, Greg Nutter, Jo Anne Darcy, Richard Patterson, Duane Harte, Joyce Rodgers and George Pederson.
"The development of the Senior Center over the past 30 years has been a magnificent accomplishment," Weste said. "We look to continue the legacy."
The awards ceremony was followed by a buffet dinner and music provided by Fiddle, Sticks and Ivory Plus.
"This has been such a touching evening," said Robin Clough, the Senior Center's director of volunteers and recreation. "These are things that truly matter in our community and our life."
The Senior Center serves one in every five senior households in the city of Santa Clarita and in the valley with more than 8,000 senior citizens accessing one or more services and/or programs of the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging, Berens said.
Berens added that despite the increase in the number of seniors being served, coupled with the fact that the elderly comprise the fastest growing demographic in the nation, charitable giving from the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley has diminished more than 50 percent during the few years.
"Our 30 year anniversary does not in and of itself indicate that awareness and compassion is growing on the part of the total community," Berens said.
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