FROM THE CHAIRBy Susan Kujawa
FROM THE CHAIR
Members of the Pasadena Village took on several projects during December to make the holidays brighter for some of our local residents.
Under the leadership of Village member Toni Cavanagh-Johnson, 24 preschool children at Pasadena’s Families Forward Learning Center received gift bags full of art supplies, jingle bells, and a Christmas gnome. Small groups of Village members accompanied Toni to the center for the morning and afternoon preschool classes, to distribute the gifts and to listen with the children as Toni read a story about how a little bunny was given the gift of two new friends at Christmas.
Also in December, members of Pasadena Village joined 8 Cadettes from Girl Scout Troop 5531 to make 22 welcome baskets for the women at Casa Treatment Center, a substance abuse center for women. Founded in 1967, Casa is one of the only treatment centers in Southern California designed to specifically meet the needs of women in recovery. The local Girl Scouts adopt a nonprofit every year to help those in need over the holidays. As a girl-led group, the scouts take initiative to find out what would be helpful and ask each of the Girl Scout families to donate items. This year, they found out that there were 22 women, who range in age from 19 to 91, who were in recovery and might not see their families over the holidays. It was great for them to volunteer alongside older adults at Pasadena Village to put together the baskets filled with warm socks, snacks, facial masks, and craft supplies for these women. Cadette Karina Toro (an eighth grader in Pasadena) shared, "It was fulfilling and fun to make the gift baskets with my girl scout troop because I know a lot of people feel lonely over the holiday season, and it was great to know our baskets would go to people who would really enjoy them."
The Village also participated in the Pasadena Senior Center food drive to provide food items for the many low-income seniors who depend on the Pasadena Senior Center for food supplies to help them make ends meet during this time of high inflation. Senior Center Board member, Uma Shrivastava applauded our efforts, saying “I am excited that the two premier organizations serving the Senior Community in Pasadena are working together.”
It's not surprising that our members enthusiastically jumped in to help others during the holidays. Older adults, often stereotyped as “burdens” or “helpless”, want to contribute to their community. During their long lives they have seen or experienced hard times, and they understand what it feels like to struggle in life. They want to be generous, they want to be included, they want to help with the solutions, even in a small way.