By Christy Smith
Our seniors mean everything to our community — after a lifetime of hard work and service, they deserve the dignity, respect and care their contributions have earned them. It’s incredibly important to honor what the senior community has given us — the rich history of our community, the livelihood of our families and the storied traditions we hold dear.
It is the spirit of paying it forward that we partnered with the Bella Vida (the new Santa Clarita Valley senior center) to host our first-ever Senior Appreciation Day.
This event would not have been possible without the fantastic people at Bella Vida. The entire staff — Kevin MacDonald, the executive director, and his phenomenal team — were excellent partners who kindled the compassion and thoughtfulness that fueled our event.
In addition to offering their beautiful new facility for us to use, the kitchen prepared and distributed hundreds of free, nutritious lunches. Drivers transported seniors to and from the center, making our event an accessible one. Volunteers stopped and made sure each and every senior was heard and connected to the services they needed.
These were just a few of their dedicated efforts.
Their contributions directly correlated with what we were able to accomplish for our event. The magic was palpable — throughout the day, the courtyard was abuzz with activity from local and state agencies and nonprofits sharing their invaluable information with the more than 650 attendees of our event.
Representatives answered the everyday questions seniors had about health care, wellness planning, retirement benefits and more. Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital gave free blood pressure screenings, and AARP offered a wealth of information regarding healthy aging.
We also hosted seminars taking a deeper dive into pressing issues our seniors face — the REAL ID, Medicare/Medi-Cal, CalFresh and other social services and fraud prevention. In conjunction with these classes and to name a few of the onsite services, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Service facilitated the enrollment of CalFresh, while the Department of Motor Vehicles processed free senior REAL IDs. It was truly wonderful to see government and nonprofits working together to elevate the lives of our seniors.
I’m extremely grateful for Bella Vida’s diligent contributions to our senior event and their tireless advocacy every day, making the Santa Clarita Valley a great place to live, grow and retire. This is true to the new name of the senior center — “Bella Vida,” which means beautiful life in Spanish.
All seniors should be afforded to live a beautiful life, and here in the 38th Assembly District, that’s made possible by the staff at the senior center, who make every day Senior Appreciation Day.
Bella Vida (Santa Clarita Valley senior center) is located at 27180 Golden Valley Road and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes most of the Santa Clarita and Simi valleys.