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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Voluntary Kindness

Uploaded: Nov 26, 2009
I turned 67 in October, so that makes me a Senior. I'm on the mailing list for the Senior Center Newsletter. When I saw there was a Thanksgiving Lunch scheduled for November 23rd, I thought it might be nice to go to that since I don't have any family living here. My sister lives in San Francisco, but she and her husband are in Europe now. The rest of my family lives in Maine and Massachusetts.

When my mother visited me about four years ago, I took her to the Senior Center for a day so I could work on the online classes I teach. She joined a group playing bridge and spent most of the day at the Senior Center. She raved about what a wonderful place it is, but complained (as usual) about the bridge playing of her partner in the game.

I phoned my mother last week and I told her that I was going to lunch there. I thought she'd be pleased that I'm getting out and mixing with other people, but she said I'm too young for the Senior Center. She's going to be 94 in January and thinks I'm too young for everything.

Well I went to lunch on Monday, and everyone at the lunch, except the volunteers who made it and the High School students from Dougherty Valley High who helped with the serving and provided musical entertainment, were all at least ten years older than I am. The food was very bland, made without salt, fat, or much sugar – the three staples of my diet.

Most of the people at my table arrived late because the van that was supposed to pick them up missed their stops. They were all very nice, but I still felt out of place. Mother was right (I hate that!). I am too young at 67 for senior lunches.

I had to leave early to meet with a City Inspector who was coming to do the rough inspection of some electrical work I'm having done at my house. I drove home, because I had driven myself. I don't like driving on the freeways anymore, and especially after dark, but I can get around town fine on my own. Still it's nice that volunteers drive these vans to pick up seniors for lunch and to take them on nearby day trips.

I was listening to a program on KQED this morning about the pleasures of kindness. The pleasure is not only being the recipient of kindness but being the giver. I thought about all of the volunteers at the Senior Center and how nice it is to have so many kind people in San Ramon. I remembered that Mayor Wilson is always calling San Ramon "a family," and except for a few dysfunctional whiners, it is a happy family.

The Senior Center is a wonderful facility. I had not seen all of the new parts of it since it reopened last year, and I was impressed with the additions. The City maintains and supports this facility, and even though the vans and the kitchen are manned by volunteers, the vehicles, gas, food, and staffing of the Center, are paid for by the City.

My mother lives in a wonderful facility in Scarborough, Maine, but even she was impressed with how nice our Senior Center is. We take these services for granted in San Ramon, but we are lucky to live in a city that not only provides events for seniors, children, teens, and adults, but doesn't cut back on them in hard times. This is what it means to live in San Ramon, and we should all be thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Posted by Jean Ohman, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 27, 2009 at 11:27 am

Hi Roz,
Yes, San Ramon is truly a wonderful city and the volunteer spirit is amazing. I recently had two cousins visiting me from their home in Sweden. In addition to the normal tourist spots in San Francisco, I spent time taking them to all our wonderful places in San Ramon--the Senior Center, our two Community Centers, our Libraries, hospital and all the beautiful colorful trees lining our streets. Of course we spent time at my favorite place, Forest Home Farms.

My cousins were impressed with it all but the one thing that struck them the most was the number of volunteers doing so many incredible things. Sweden, like most of Europe has nothing to equal our sense of volunteering, our ability to help others and to keep ourselves active and alert at any age, but particularly as we all grow older.

I love San Ramon and I'm so grateful for a City staff who cares enough about us to provide the services we have and for the many wonderful volunteers that make living here so wonderful. And to you, Roz, for the valuable contributions you have made though your wise observations and honest comments about how you see the city.

Thanks to all you wonderful people,
Jean Ohman

Posted by Senior Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I agree with Roz?s comments 100% and am also thankful we live in such a wonderful community.

But I would like to add that, in addition to the many senior volunteers that drive the vans, prepare the Thanksgiving Lunch and other monthly luncheons, serve the daily lunches, assist at the Reception Desk, and tutor school students, the Senior Center is also supported by a highly dedicated group of senior volunteers called the San Ramon Senior Center Foundation. Under the motto of ?Seniors Helping Seniors?, the Foundation members conduct weekly bingo games, make and sell knitted good, crafts, and jewelry, provide coffee and pick up surplus baked goods from local supermarkets for Senior Center participants, prepare monthly family breakfasts and conduct occasional special events. In addition to providing affordable activities for seniors, the surplus funds from these activities are used to support the Senior Center. By June of 2010, the Senior Center Foundation will have contributed over $97,000 to the city over the past 3 years, including purchase and installation of an electronic sign and a new monument sign, 8 new computer workstations, a garden greenhouse, $10,000 for maintenance and operation of the senior vans, and sundry other projects.

When thinking of our marvelous Senior Center, let?s not forget to give thanks for this often unrecognized and unappreciated group of dedicated volunteers.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Nov 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thank you for adding that information, Senior Citizen. I knew about the Senior Foundation, but not about all of these activities it performs or the money it raised to help the Senior Center. Just more things to be thankful for.


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