As seniors drove through the Bella Vida Senior Center parking lot last week, they were treated to a special performance by the Hart High School dance team.
“Because of COVID, we only had five dancers (dancing) at one time,” said Robin Clough, volunteer and recreation coordinator for the center. “The cars would drive up, five people would get out of five different cars and come over and dance, and then another five, so it was continuous throughout the drive-thru lunch time. And it took a lot of coordination and effort on their part to do it.”
Seniors were able to watch the performances from the safety of their vehicles as the center held its daily lunch service.
“We’re just so grateful,” Clough added. “They really brought on their high energy and enthusiasm, which really made the day special.”
The opportunity to perform came about after the dancers, who had been working together to sew masks to sell to the community through the pandemic — with the funds generated going to support the team — chose to donate 100 of their handmade masks to the center to be distributed to seniors who needed them.
“(Dance team) booster club mom Makesha Chambers, her daughter Gwendolyn and I discussed other (volunteer) possibilities because they were really anxious to see what else they could do,” Clough said. “They wanted to make a difference for the seniors.”
So, when Clough suggested a performance, the dancers jumped at the opportunity, as it was their first public performance since the start of the pandemic — an exciting moment for co-captain Gianna Echeverria, who said she was thrilled to dance for the seniors.
“We are separated, yet we came together as a team to do something for the community,” Diana Boggs, dance team co-captain, added in a prepared statement. “It feels good. It is wonderful to do nice things for others in the current climate of our world.”
Co-captain Nikki Van Ostrand agreed, adding, “We are thankful to have this opportunity to support everyone. It is a very bonding experience.”
For dancer Kayla Malloy, the performance took on a more personal meaning, as she thought of her grandparents, who have remained home for four months now.
“It is nice to do something for their generation,” she said.
Through the pandemic, the center has provided more than 1,100 meals per day to seniors in the SCV via both its drive-thru and home-delivered meals programs.
For more information and to support the SCV Senior Center, visit scv-seniorcenter.org or call 661-259-9444.