December may be the season of giving, but some people volunteer and give their time year round.
On Tuesday afternoon, SCV Senior Center welcomed about 200 of its volunteers to a holiday part to thank them for their efforts to make the senior community more comfortable. Though the senior center has hosted many thank you parties for its volunteers, this year had the distinction of being the first one at the new facility.
“It’s so meaningful to us to have these volunteers and to be able to celebrate them because they really embody the spirit of giving,” said Robin Clough, coordinator of volunteers, events and advocacy who herself started as a volunteer at the center before joining the staff. “Each month, our volunteers put in about 5,000 hours of volunteer work collectively doing everything from working in our food program to providing their technology skills or teaching classes.”
The volunteers were treated to Christmas music, sing alongs, raffle prizes, photos with Santa, dessert and a special dance performance from the Santa Clarita Senior Center Tappers.
“The volunteers we have here don’t do it to be recognized and a lot of them don’t want to be but if we do something that’s a gathering where they can all come together, people seem to be okay with that,” Clough said. “It’s important to let them know that they’re making a difference.”
Roger Rangel is new to volunteering at the center, and said that as a senior himself, he likes to volunteer at the center to make sure that those who come to use its services always have a good experience.
“It’s nice to get a thank you,” Rangel said. “I like to volunteer because it feels good and by helping others it gives you a sense of accomplishment.”
Sister Vogel, Sister Brinkerhoff and Sister Hoggan are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have been volunteering at the senior center since September.
“The senior center is very organized and well run compared to some other places we’ve volunteered at and I have a lot of fun working here,” said Sister Vogel. “I’m glad that they’re holding this party to show their appreciation for their volunteers because it makes us and others want to come back to continue volunteering,”
“Service is really important and from a missionary perspective it’s important to us to help out the seniors because it helps spread the word about how much God loves them,” Sister Hoggan said. “From a community perspective it’s just great to see how much people can touch each other’s lives.”
Donna and Bob Bennett have volunteered with the senior center for over ten years, since the senior center was in its previous facility.
“When the seniors and the community come together, it really shows the humanity, the taking and giving and sharing,” Donna said. “I’ve always enjoyed working with seniors because I never really knew my grandparents and for a long time the seniors were like my grandparents and now I’m one of their peers.”