Ensuring the future of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center seems to be in good hands, after the expanded board of the SCVSC Foundation Board was welcomed and encouraged Friday night by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.
The group gathered at Salt Creek Grille was a cross-section of Santa Clarita community leaders and quiet volunteers – all dedicated to making life easier and supporting the center which has provided programming, home support, meal service and social interaction for thousands of senior citizens over the last few decades.
Foundation President Patti Rasmussen was presented with certificates and fussed over by several politicians and fellow board members. The normally reticent Rasmussen said that the fledgling board made great strides in their first year of existence.
“We’re looking for some more exciting things and I really owe that all to the whole board of the Foundation,” she said. “There were times I thought, oh my gosh, we’re never gonna make it, this is really hard, but they hung in there and we had fun. We’ve done some great things and expect some bigger things coming our way, really exciting stuff.”
The foundation supports the Committee on Aging, which is the nonprofit that governs administration of the Senior Center. There were 15 members of the board before Friday’s ceremonies; six more were added, bringing the total to 21.
Founding members of the Foundation board include: Rasmussen, VP Sue Endress, VP Myles McNamara, CFO David Stone and Secretary Linda Camarillo; members Terri Burbank, Alethia Calagias, Barbara Stearns-Cochran, Kathy Kellar, Bob Kellar, John Lutz, Michael Schreiner, Jim Bizelle, Bill Bolde and Sharon Bronson.
Sworn in as new trustees of the foundation Friday night were Chris Carpenter, John Oaks, Marlee Lauffer, Rose Chegwin, Linda Hafizi and Doreen Shine.
Along with the official work, the Foundation also honored their Intergenerational Advisory Committee, made up of students from six local high schools who work with the center on fundraisers and other programming.
Three awards were also presented for Volunteers of the Year; with one each from the Center, the Committee on Aging and the Foundation.
Tess Carlos, the liaison for the Filipino-American Association who also serves as a peer counselor and adjust to the care management staff at the center for Filipino elders where bi-cultural skills and language skills are needed.
Maria Gutzeit, who was not able to attend the ceremonies because of the recent birth of her daughter, Emma, was honored by the Committee on Aging for her work on the agency’s Strategic Plan , which sets into place missions and goals with a look toward the future for all seniors.
The award from the Foundation went to one cause, but three women behind the effort; the G.R.A.N.D.S. (Giving Respect And Nuturing to Deserving Seniors) program was represented by Geri McCorkle, Jan Fear and Corrin Miklosovich. The women involve various youth groups in the community to assemble “shoeboxes of love” for seniors, homemade blankets and “extreme makeovers” at the Center itself after the youth painted a series of rooms, and conduct e-waste recycling events to raise money for products and items needed that are outside budgetary limits.
The final award of the evening went to Boston Scientific, which was honored as the Center’s Outstanding Corporate Supporter. The company became a supporter of the Center after seeing a video about the services and clients, which prompted many of their employees to become involved in the group’s fundraisers. After touring the Center, Boston Scientific gave a grant to the Foundation for $10,000.
“All we do is get behind our volunteers,” said John Oakes, the company’s VP of Human Resources. “Michael Onuscheck (President of Neuromodulation for Boston) has enabled and encouraged the 1,200 employees to volunteer and support their community.”