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Locals answer senior center’s call for help

Community helps raise $6,000 of $100K goal for Adult Day Care program

Posted: July 31, 2009 10:01 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

It didn’t take long for Santa Clarita Valley residents to come to the aid of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Adult Day Care program.

“We received two cash gifts this morning,” Brad Berens, executive director of the Senior Center, said Friday. The two cash gifts totaled $6,000, he said.

Berens appreciates the donations. “I am thrilled that people that are not personally impacted are willing to support us,” he said.  

The gifts come three days after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California state budget, which trimmed $6 million statewide from adult day care programs. The SCV Adult Day Care program lost more than $100,000 in funding due to state cuts, Berens said.

If Berens and staff can’t raise $100,000 by October, the program will close, he added.

The Adult Day Care program serves more than 25 senior citizens who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other disabilities.

The first cash gift, a $5,000 donation, arrived early Friday morning from a couple who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We read about it in the paper, and me and my wife figured we’d go over there and give the center a contribution,” the donor said.

On Friday, The Signal highlighted the challenges faced by senior citizens who use the Adult Day Care, as well as the stress placed on the family members of those senior citizens.

The newspaper was only part of the push to donate, according to the anonymous donor.

“My father lived in Burbank for years and got a lot of assistance from programs like Meals on Wheels,” the donor said. The gift was also a way to pay back the community he lives in, he said.

“(The Santa Clarita Valley) has been so good to me and my wife,” he said. “We’ve made a good living here for 40 years and this is our way of saying thanks.”

Bob and Jeanne Danis said the article in The Signal prompted them to act, and they hope others will follow suit.

“If I can make a donation, then maybe it could encourage others to do the same,” Bob Danis said. The cuts that threaten to close the Adult Day Care program would strip many of the senior citizens in the program of options, he added.

“Where are the people going to go?” Bob Danis asked.

He also stressed the importance of caring for the elderly. “It can happen to us. One day it will happen to us.”

While Berens appreciates the kindness of some in the community, he recognizes there is more work to do to save the program. He plans to start grant writing and devising an economic plan to keep the program afloat, Berens said.

But donations are needed to buy some time, he said.

“If I can garner $100,000, that kind of money buys us some time to assemble a plan to keep this program going.” 



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