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High-fives for all the little things

Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center honors its supporters and installs its board of directors for 200

Posted: January 25, 2009 8:20 p.m.
Updated: January 26, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Guests grabbed a partner and danced to the sounds of Fiddle, Sticks & Ivory Plus before the annual meeting started.

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Rain trickled down on the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center as seniors, trustees, volunteers and guests attended "High-fives for All the Little Things We Do," the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging/Senior Center 33rd annual meeting.

The annual meeting served two purposes: To introduce the SCV Committee on Aging board of directors and to thank those people in the community who committed to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center pledge: "Let no call go unanswered."

"There is no waiting list here," said Brad Berens, Executive Director and the host of the event. "You need a meal? You're getting it. Our board is responsible for that."

According to their annual report, the overall responsibility of the board of directors is to "act as an adjunct to the professional staff at the Senior Center by providing leadership that will inspire the community, build confidence and support the agency's growth and continuity." They represent all the seniors who are not familiar faces at the center.

Rick Patterson, the 2009 president of the SCVCOA board of directors, introduced the members of the board and confidently reassured all in attendance that the right people were in the right place.

"I'm taking this new responsibility seriously," Patterson said. "Someone has to lead us into 2009 with a new attitude, and who better than people who have lived through it all?"

Despite the sour economy, Patterson has confidence in what 2009 will bring.

"Sometimes the hard times are the best times because we help each other," he said.

The SCV Senior Center Foundation, which acts as the fundraising arm for the center, officially swore in the 2009 directors for the center's operating board, the SCV Committee on Aging.

Taking the pledge "not to let one call go unanswered" were Diana Sevanian, health and wellness director; Kathy Keysor-Smith; Sharon Bronson, KHTS sales manager; Alethia Calegias, Lockheed Federal Credit Union; Councilman Bob Kellar Kellar-Davis Realty; and John Lutz of the California Highway Patrols Newhall area office.

President Patti Rasmussen represented the foundation, expressing her excitement for their enthusiasm.
"Our job is to help raise money so you can keep doing what you're doing," she said. "Everyone on the board is very excited about being on board."

The board promises to continue their goal of getting the community more involved, including reaching out to the younger generation. Rasmussen also realized the challenges ahead given the current economic state of the nation.

"These people have entered their positions at a hard economic time, but they're still willing to do what they need to do. It's the year of change, right?" she asked.

The night also served to recognize and thank those who have contributed to make what the senior center is today.

"This is a special opportunity for us to celebrate the valuable contributions of our volunteers, sponsors and staff in helping to improve the lives of local seniors," said Kathy Crone, director of development for the SCV Senior Center.

"They go mostly without recognition," Berens said. "This year, it's about time to thank these folks."

Mayor Frank Ferry, on behalf of City Council, expressed his appreciation as well.

"The council is so proud of our partnership with the senior center," he said. "Tonight is a special night to honor the volunteers here."

Crone expressed her excitement for this year's annual meeting because it will be the first time seniors themselves will be presenting the awards.

Seniors who have given and have participated in the SCV community for more than a span of two decades were chosen to give out the awards of appreciation. These seniors were specifically chosen because they personified the gratitude and appreciation of all the seniors in the SCV.

They included: Michael Sellheim, Vickie Pierce, Harry Gatz, Ginny Carter, Marie Stedman, Jo Molano, Pat Palmer, Angie Palmer, Morris Silver, Thelma Blanchard, Mina Langlois, Nat Aboulfie, Ruth Milne, Clarice Secrest, Sid Silver, Helen Silver, Lucy Baird, Dan Acuna, and Helen Johnson.

Honorees received recognition for keeping their pledge to the senior center. They included: Sue Endress (25 years of service), Jill Bondy (3 years), Terri Burbank (14 years), Jim Bizelle (10 years), Bill Bolde (3 years), Diana Sevanian (18 years), Alethia Calegias (1 year), Bob Kellar (18 years), Ray Graber (10 years), Boston Scientific Neuromodulation (1 year), the city of Santa Clarita (22 years).

Councilwoman Laurene Weste applauded the foundation and their work.

"We are all a part of the Santa Clarita Valley, which makes us family. That's what it's all about," she said. "We have to take care of each other. The city is proud to serve you."

"The Circle of Leadership Awards" were presented to past presidents for "exemplifying the pledge" who continue to live and breathe the mission of the SCV Committee on Aging. Honorees included Paul Boog (27 years), Robert Endress (25 years), Steve Cushing (22 years), Don Kimball (20 years), Jeff Pollard (10 years), and the current President Rick Patterson (9 years).

Also honored was Duane Harte, founding president of the SCV Senior Center Foundation, for his seven years of dedicated service to the elders and disabled served through the SCVCOA.

The final award, The SCVCOA Presidents' Award, was presented to SuzAnn Nelsen, SCVCOA Supportive Services Director (22 years), in appreciation for "taking the calls, providing the guidance, enhancing lives and protecting the most vulnerable among us."

The Senior Center Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise money to support Adult Day Care, Home Delivered Meals and other funding needs at the Senior Center. Additional information about the Foundation is available by visiting For questions, call the SCV Senior Center at (661) 259-9444 or email


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