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High tea for hard work

Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center hosts meal to recognize its almost 100 volunteers for their hours

Posted: May 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Volunteers Rita Hendrixson, left, and Stellina Parcho, right, are served sandwiches by Senior Center Associate Executive Director Linda Alexander-Lieblang.

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A tea to say "thank you" was recently held for nearly 100 volunteers of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. The event carried the theme, "Volunteer Appreciation High Tea - Exceptional People - Extraordinary Hearts," said Robin Clough, director of volunteers at the SCV Senior Center.

The program began with music and socializing, Clough said. Music was provided by The Master's College students Beth Crichton on piano and Jenna Ford on cello.

"They performed brilliantly, their classical music greatly enhancing the ambiance," Clough said.

The room was decorated with a spring garden theme with tables covered in lavender and yellow and decorated with an abundance of fresh flowers and flower-seed packets. Volunteer-appreciation quotes were placed on tables with garden-related expressions such as "The gardens of kindness never fade."

Rachelle Dardeau, executive director of the SCV Senior Center, expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to the volunteers.

"Our volunteers are the backbone of the Senior Center," she said.

Staff members of the Senior Center then served the high tea from decorated teapots. Guests enjoyed Yorkshire Gold (English black tea), chicken salad with sliced almonds and cranberries, egg salad, scones with lemon curd and jam, and assorted cookies.

Linda Alexander-Lieblang, associate executive director of the Senior Center, is a high tea "expert," said Clough.

"She personally prepared the food, which was incredible. The volunteers are still raving about it," said Clough.

Clough recognized and thanked all the volunteers.

"I want each of you to know that each one of you makes an impact - with far-reaching effects," she said.

The volunteers have given nearly 30,000 hours collectively.

If the hours were paid, it would total almost $240,000, Clough said.

"What you do is priceless," Clough said. "You are the heart of our success."

Clough then related the true account of volunteer Cathie Rydall.

"The road is impassable, wiped out by a devastating flood. Studying her crumpled map and the terrain surrounding her, achieving the mission seems hopeless. She traverses a stream, hopping from rock to rock until finally reaching her destination. With rescue package in hand, she leaps upon the wall and calls to the recipient.

"The sky is ashen gray, and visibility is low. Once again, our protagonist scouts the backways and navigates through a disaster area. Just days prior, a flaming inferno ravaged through structures and pristine greenery. The beneficiary is standing in his driveway anxiously awaiting her arrival, but she is shocked to see that there is something missing - the front of his house.

"For 22 years, Cathie Rydall has been a Home-Delivered Meal driver for the SCV Senior Center. Undaunted by floods, fires and earthquakes - not to mention rattlesnakes on a porch and geese chasing her down a pathway - Cathie has been a local ‘Indiana Jones' in her commitment to fulfill the Senior Center's mission that no homebound senior go hungry. Her ostensibly tame volunteer duties are in reality those of a true superhero."

Clough said volunteers "are superheroes and each has their own story. They volunteer out of pure altruism and not for kudos or recognition," she said. "It is my privilege to work with all of you."

She then raised her teacup to "salute" the room of volunteers.

The high tea concluded with the awarding of door prizes.

For more information about the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall and to volunteer contact the center at 661-255-1588.




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