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Friendship Center Honors Members at Veteran’s Day Celebration

  Friendship Center was proud to honor the veterans we serve with another wonderful celebration on Thursday, November 10th, from 12-1:30pm. Fabulous weather, delicious food and drink, a great emcee, and live singing all added to the joyful occasion. “At Friendship Center we celebrate and honor our Veterans who sacrificed so much for us and our Country.” said Heidi Holly,…

Friendship Center Welcomes Board Members Paloma Espino and Steven Sharpe; Cynder Sinclair is President

by Jean Hall, Administrative Lead Paloma Espino and Steven Sharpe have been elected to the Board of Directors for Friendship Center, and Cynder Sinclair has been elected board president for the 2022-23 term. Paloma Espino is the current administrator for Sarah House, a local nonprofit that provides end-of-life care for community members. She said there are many lessons to be…

Take a LEAP! An Exploration in Friendship Center’s Life Enrichment Activity Program

  Friendship Center has faithfully served our senior members through every transition we have experienced together, including these past few years in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the desire to decrease isolation and increase our members’ engagement with their community and peers, Friendship Center has reimagined focus on LEAP (Life Enrichment Activity Program). LEAP delivers EXACTLY what health professionals recommended for seniors…

10th Annual Wine Down – Thank You for Your Support!

by Sophia Davis, Development Director Friendship Center celebrated its 10th Annual Wine Down on September 8th, 2022, from 4 to 7pm, outdoors at our Montecito Center’s beautiful courtyard. This delicious and delightful event brought patrons together to enjoy an evening of great local wines and beer, along with mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres and live music, all for a good cause! The…

Watching the Lifecycle: Friendship Center’s Monarch Butterfly Project

  The past few months have not just been blooming, but metamorphosing at Friendship Center! In March 2022, the Assistance League of Santa Barbara® teamed up with Friendship Center to transform our Sweet Pea Patio garden into an environment designed to raise and release monarch butterflies. It was quite the process; from getting the proper enclosures, to selecting plants that…

Friendship Center and VNA Health Hold Special Pinning Ceremony for Veterans

  Friendship Center in collaboration with VNA Health were proud to host a very special Veterans Pinning Ceremony on Thursday April 7th. This event honored and recognized 14 veterans, 11 of whom are currently members at the Center. Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy were all represented by our veterans who fought in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. We…

And that’s a WRAP on the 23rd Annual Festival of Hearts!

  By Sophia Davis, Development Director     Every year, Friendship Center raises money for HEART (Helping Elders At Risk Today) to benefit low to moderate income members attending the Center. This year’s theme was “What’s Your Superpower?”   Sophia Davis, Director of Development, describes her role in creating Festival of Hearts as “weaving the creative theme into a functioning event, and developing…

Friendship Center Brings Back Full-Time Social Fun: Catch us on the News!

  Our Executive Director, Heidi Holly was interviewed alongside caregiver Marlene Vitanza to discuss the positive impact Friendship Center has made for her husband and member, John, as well as herself. Our members were filmed as they enjoyed singing with Carol Ann (our Vitality partner from SBCC), and while doing outdoor activities with our wonderful staff members. “We really focus…

We are Open! Friendship Center Day Program Opens for Full Days

  Like the rest of our community, Friendship Center has seen so much change in recent years. In two short years we have gone from a thriving day program to shutting down, to creating our multifaceted virtual and telehealth Community Adult Connect Program, and to re-opening our hybrid, cohorted day program. Maintaining people’s health and safety while creating spaces for…

Senior Activities Best Practices Refresher

Rebecca Birotte M.A., Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and CLC, shared her insights with program staff in December, providing a refresher on the how’s and why’s of effective memory care activities for Friendship Center members. “Activities are medicine,” she said. “That’s my business motto.” Rebecca owns and operates Los Angeles-based Healthy Solutions, a consultancy providing activity and recreation therapy training for a…

Welcome Associate Director Amy West

Please welcome Friendship Center’s new Associate Director Amy West, M.A. Amy West brings to Friendship Center a 25-year track record of public sector management, most recently as Program Administrator of an Adult Residential Facility at Devereux California, where she was recognized for her skills in problem-solving and collaboration. Amy earned a B.A. in public sector management and an M.A. in…

Buy Axxess from Friendship Center!

Friendship Center is now selling Axxess Cards! Axxess cards offer amazing local discounts in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Better still, for each $40 Axxess Card sold, Friendship Center receives a $13 donation. Present your Axxess Card at local restaurants, coffee shops, fitness centers and more for 2-for-1 meals and/or significant discounts. Available now through early December. To purchase your…

Connections Social Program Benefits Minds & Bodies in Early Dementia

Connections Senior Social Program, Friendship Center’s brain-training program, mid-December at All Saints-by-the-Sea Church. As the name suggests, Connections is about connecting, both socially and cognitively. Each three-hour session features socially engaging activities, music, group discussions and light exercise. Connections is geared specifically toward members in the early stages of a dementia diagnosis, with the two-fold goal of challenging the mind…

Virtual Walking Tour of Friendship Center Enables Off-Site Visits

Prospective members and their families can now take a virtual tour of Friendship Center. Join Heidi Holly, executive director and Kim Larsen, family services manager as they walk through each of our Montecito facility’s recreational areas, while also providing an overview of our Covid-19 safety protocols. Click here to watch the video on YouTube. The video also features images of…

What’s Next on the Agenda?

  Friendship Center’s hybrid day program will consist of a morning (9-12:30 p.m.) and an afternoon (1:30-5 p.m.) session, Monday through Thursday. Your loved one will be assigned to one of these sessions in which they will be able to exercise (Yoga? Tai Chi? Cycling without Age anyone?), listen to music (The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys – oh…

Friendship Center Welcomes New, Returning Board Members 

Friendship Center is pleased to welcome David Selberg and Maggie Mixsell to its Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. “We are delighted that David and Maggie have joined our board of directors,” says Friendship Center Executive Director Heidi Holly. “Each joins Friendship Center at an exciting time as we continue to pivot and enhance our programs for seniors…

Friendship Center Blooms with Joy for Solstice Parade Parasol Performance

Friendship Center staff hustled and bustled with excitement last Thursday in preparation for their public performance in the Virtual Solstice Parade. Development Director Sophia Davis choreographed, planned and coordinated with filming partner Jinny Ahn from Summer Solstice Celebration, Inc. to pull off a performance worthy of the big screen! The outdoor film set centered around Bessy the Friendship Center bus,…

You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Friendship Center Finds a Way to Stay Connected

by BY STEVEN LIBOWITZ , Montecito Journal Friendship Center serves an often overlooked, but much-needed niche for the aging adult community — providing a daytime home away from home where the dependent seniors can take advantage of companionship and engaging activities. They also receive necessary supervision while their family caregivers receive respite and a much-needed break from the demands of…

Judith Ewing, MFT, Receives Individual Award

  Friendship Center is proud to announce it was awarded “Caregiver of the Year” for a facility by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging in honor of Older Americans Month. “Friendship Center has been very successful in providing live virtual classes five days a week,” writes Sue Larsen of Gulley and Larsen Insurance Services, who…

Friendship Center to Roll Out Hybrid Schedule

  As the State of California inches toward a comprehensive reopening plan, Friendship Center members and caregivers will be heartened to know that our own reopening plan has been in the works for months. The new hybrid plan incorporates both onsite and Zoom activities as it transitions toward fully re-opening. “We’re pleased to announce that our plan has been approved…

Take Care Totes Program Is Lifeline to Homebound Seniors

  May 13 marked the 11th monthly delivery of Friendship Center’s signature comfort-food for the isolated soul Take Care Totes. Beginning just 10 days after mandatory shelter-in-place orders, Friendship Center’s Take Care Tote program represents a lifeline to homebound, isolated seniors.  “Ideally, Take Care Totes represent joy and love as they open the bags to see what activities, treats and…

Board Member Cynder Sinclair Walks the Walk

  It all started with a small thing in the early 1970s when Cynder Sinclair was helping in her son’s classroom. “I noticed some of the kids were not dressed warmly enough for the weather,” she says. Cynder was living with her husband and five children in the small farming community of Kingsburg, where it gets cold in the off season…

Dine & Donate Hits Record Numbers in Support of Friendship Center  

By Sophia Davis Advancement & Project Manager April’s Dine & Donate Event was a fantastic success with over 110 dinners sold, making it our most successful Dine & Donate event ever! Heidi Holly, Executive Director commented, “We want to extend our sincere gratitude to SBAOR, and the CORE Committee for working their hearts out to support Friendship Center. The event…

Friendship Center Intern Claire Arnold Graduates & Reflects

  Community Connect Adult Program members are familiar with Claire Arnold’s graceful,  kind presence on their Zoom screens. Claire, Friendship Center’s intern from Westmont  College, graduated in May and recently completed her eight-month internship. She’s been an asset to Friendship Center and a credit to Westmont College, and we will all miss her. While she is pursuing new opportunities in…

Rosewood Miramar Beach Resorts Donates Lunches for Seniors

Big thanks to our neighbors at the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort for contributing 42 lunches to Friendship Center’s monthly Take Care Totes, going out to isolated seniors! This is what community is all about!

Dine & Donate: Los Agaves & SBAOR to Donate Proceeds of April 21 Event to Friendship Center

In an event sponsored by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR), Los Agaves Restaurant is cooking up an authentic Mexican meal for charity. Meal pick-up is Wednesday, April 21 from 4:30 p.m.—6:30 p.m.  All proceeds support  Friendship Center, an adult day program located in Montecito and Goleta, providing programs that honor individuality, promote socialization, and foster a compassionate community…

April Take Care Totes Packed with Games, Activities & a Bit of Luxury

by Laurie Mason, program coordinator Take Care Totes go out to members April 15 packed with practical items like chapstick, face masks, fruit cups and tissue packs, granola bars, chocolates and fresh fruit. This month a bit of luxury is included as well, donated by Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort in the form of a ready-made lunch. Games are an important part…

One Year in Quarantine: Caregivers Share Trials & Triumphs

  March 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of California’s shelter-in-place orders. While many, clearing the shelves of toilet paper, anticipated an inexplicable increase in bathroom visits, others assured themselves everything would go back to normal in six weeks. No one yet grasped that March 14, 2020 was to begin a full year of masks, social distancing, loneliness and all the…

Friendship Center CCAP Activities Changes Start Time to 10 a.m. April 5

Beginning Monday, April 5, Friendship Center will start our virtual-programming day at 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m. Hours will be from 10 a.m.—noon with a one-hour break for lunch, resuming at 1 p.m.—4 p.m.  We will continue providing a more interactive agenda, including games with a purpose like Find the Differences, Wheel of Impressions, Stories and Discussions and Word…

Make Friendship Center Your Amazon Charity to Donate While You Shop ∼ at No Extra Cost!

Click here to make Friendship Center your AmazonSmile charity. Friendship Center is now registered with Amazon as a charitable organization through the AmazonSmile Foundation. If you choose Friendship Center as your charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase to Friendship Center. Click above to automatically choose Friendship Center as your AmazonSmile charity. If you are logged in to Amazon…

Member Spotlight on “Sir” Robert Antonini, WWII Vet & Witty Raconteur

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Everyone calls Robert Antonini “Sir Robert,” a moniker he gave himself. “It’s because I’m above and beyond the ordinary,” he jokes, but his self-deprecating manner suggests he doesn’t really believe that. Yet it’s true. At 94, Sir Robert is fit, sharp and always quick with a witty retort. Someone says, “You made…

Laughter Heals: Therapist Carol Metcalf Uses Humor to “Reframe the Ironic” 

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Friendship Center knows Carol Metcalf for the time she volunteers running a Veteran’s Support Group. What members might not know is that Carol, in addition to being a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and adjunct professor at Antioch University, is a SAG actor, comedian and documentary filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary “It Only…

‘Love Is in the Air’ for Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts Virtual Fundraiser

“Head heart wrangler” Sharon Morrow collects, coordinates and catalogues the heart art for Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo) By Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose Link here for original article. Reposted with permission.   Friendship Center recently wound down its 22nd annual Festival of Hearts virtual event themed “Love Is in the Air” to raise funds for its…

Queen of Hearts to Attend Sweetheart’s Drive-In

Thursday Feb. 11, 1 – 2 p.m. Family therapist, veteran’s advocate, and comedian by day, Carol Metcalf who moonlights as the Queen of Hearts will grace us with her majesty in full royal regalia 1:30 p.m. at Friendship Center’s Sweetheart’s Drive-In, Thursday 1-2 p.m.  From the safety of their cars, members will enjoy treat bags, social interaction, a Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Gift Baskets Help Fund Virtual Programming 

  by Laurie Mason, program coordinator Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and if you don’t have a plan you’re in luck! Friendship Center will pack you a delicious Valentine’s Gift Basket complete with all the trimmings. Created with an eye toward decadence, Friendship Center’s Valentine’s Baskets include a bottle of wine, gourmet chocolate cupcake baked fresh, and a bouquet of mixed…

Therapy Dog Evaluator Gerrie Shapiro Donates Training Services to Festival of Hearts

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Gerrie Shapiro has trained dogs for a long time—long enough now that she has the luxury of being choosy about whom she works with. “I’m getting kind of picky about the clients I take,” she chuckles. “I’ve been bitten enough!” Gerrie is a familiar face at Friendship Center, where she often visits…

Bid Early, Often and Big! Festival of Hearts Auction Is Live!

This year Friendship Center’s biggest annual fundraiser, Festival of Hearts, has gone virtual, and it’s live now! You have until February 6 to bid on a beautiful original artist’s heart, Valentine’s Day basket—did somebody say wine and cupcakes?—or unique experience. In so doing, you help us continue supporting isolated older adults with financial need. Covid 19 negatively impacts all our…

Every Place Needs an Esther Kratz

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Every organization needs an Esther Kratz, Friendship Center Goleta’s program site manager. Here’s a story that shows why. A few years back, Friendship Center threw an Oktoberfest, bringing together members from both the Goleta and Santa Barbara sites. The event included a feast, dancing and best of all, the nostalgic tunes of…

Q & A with Program Manager Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH

  By Laurie Mason Programs & Communications Coordinator Social, Emotional, Cognitive and Physical: Friendship Center’s program is designed to exercise four facets of healthy human life … every day. Glance at a typical day on Friendship Center’s agenda and you might think, “That’s a pleasant way to spend time.” A closer look reveals a carefully crafted plan that exercises four…

Socializing—Even on Zoom—Is What’s Best for the Brain

  We all know doing crossword puzzles is a great way to exercise our brains. But neurosurgeon and author Sanjay Gupta, M.D. says crossword puzzles are nowhere near as healthy as talking to a friend. “Crossword puzzles are great, but they’re no substitute for everything else you should be doing for your brain,” Gupta told Dax Shephard in a conversation…

Unity Shoppe & FC Bring Christmas Cheer to Homebound Seniors

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH (photo: gift unwrapping party on Zoom with Friendship Center families) “Character and resiliency appear when challenges emerge”- Anonymous This year has been marked by challenges and heartache. Through it all, however, organizations in our community have held steadfastly to their commitments of serving those in need. The Unity Shoppe, a group that has a long history…

Thanksgiving Lunch Donors- THANK YOU!

Friendship Center would like to extend a sincere thank you to the wonderful donors who helped us put together over 50 lunches for isolated seniors and their caregivers this Thanksgiving. Our neighbor, Chef Massimo, at the Rosewood Miramar provided DELICUOUS boxed lunches, Sprouts Market gave us enough gift cards to purchase tasty sides and meals for caregivers, Anna’s Bakery and…

Thanksgiving Lunch Delivery for CCAP Members

  **You do not need to confirm your lunch delivery; we will deliver lunches to all CCAP members unless otherwise stated!

Give a Gift that Gives Back This Year!

Never sure what to get for the person who has everything? Do you want to give a present that has meaning behind it? This year, Friendship Center is introducing a gift that truly gives back. You can choose from 5 personalized cards, to be mailed or emailed to a recipient. Each card includes a brief narrative about a Friendship Center…

Drive-In Halloween Bash @ Friendship Center 10/29

Join us for a Drive-In Halloween Bash on Thursday, October 29th at the Friendship Center’s Montecito location (not Mackenzie Park, as previously stated). The event will take place from 1:00pm-2:00pm in the Friendship Center parking lot at 89 Eucalyptus Lane, Santa Barbara 93108. Guests will remain in their car for the duration of the event but will enjoy the company…

Step by step on how to sign up for the Community Connect Adult Program

  Step 1: -go to friendshipcentersb.org -Click ‘Sign Up’ (circled in red) Step 2: -Press ‘Select’ under description of Individual Membership Level (for Individual membership access only) Step 3: -Review summary of services that come with your membership Step 4: -Create a username & password -Write in your email & contact information -add payment information Step 5: -Click ‘Submit and…

Community Connect Adult Program: Launching October 12th!

On Monday, October 12th, Friendship Center will be launching our first ever virtual membership program, the Community Connect Adult Program (CCAP).  About the Community Connect Adult Program (CCAP):   The Community Connect Adult Program is a virtual program that has been carefully crafted by the Friendship Center team since on-site programs were suspending in March 2020. Two seasons and seven-hundred…

Shine a Light of Hope: A Letter from Executive Director and BOD President

Dear Friend, 2020 will forever be known as the year of one of the most impactful and furthest reaching public health events in history. We have had to pull together, and stand apart. With no stone unturned, we have had to re-think many of our routine habits through a new pandemic lens. In doing so, we have become even more…

Caregiver’s Corner: Sleeping Well

By Naomi Edwards: Good sleep is something that is hard to come by, and with everything going on in the world, a full, restful night’s sleep is something that is few and far between for many. There are countless things that could be interfering with your sleep, but it is clear that without a good night’s sleep, we are unable…

Update to Our Virtual Activity Program

Dear Friendship Center community and beyond, In order to continue to support our seniors safely at home, Friendship Center needs to support our staff. In order to do so, and to best serve our community, we will be transitioning our virtual activity programs into a paid membership program. Starting on October 12, you will need to sign up for a…

Understanding Frontotemporal Degeneration

World Frontotemporal Degeneration Awareness Week September 27th-October 4th, 2020   Resources, text and information provided by: Association for Frontaltemporal Degeneration https://www.theaftd.org/ Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/frontotemporal-dementia   Frontaltemporal Degeneration (FTD) represents a group of brain disorders caused by degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. FTD is the most common form of dementia for people under age 60.  …

Fall Fashion Photo Contest!

What: A photo contest to show off the best/ worst/ silliest contents from your fall wardrobe. How: Send the photos to activities@friendshipcentersb.org or text them to (805) 705-4106 When: Send in photos by October 22nd Who: ANYONE, ANYWHERE

Veteran’s Group: Now held virtually!

The struggles of military life are best understood by fellow veterans. Our Veteran’s Support Group provides a comfortable, empathetic, and supportive environment where veterans can express their thoughts and feelings about military experience, life after military and learning or reinforcing coping skills. This virtual class is held via Zoom on the third Thursday of each month from 3:00pm-4:00pm. To access…

The Drive-In Luau was a Hit!

On Thursday, August 27th , Friendship Center held its second ever Drive-In Activity Hour at the Montecito site. The event, which was Luau themed, saw over twenty cars holding roughly forty guests in attendance. Members of our community, most of them being caregivers, brought their senior loved ones to Friendship Center’s tropically decorated parking lot for live yet socially distanced activities while…

Staying Grounded and Grateful during a Pandemic

By Kathryn Cherkas, MIPH None of us are exempt from feeling the stress in our country today. From political tensions and racial injustices to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all impacted emotionally, physically or spiritually. Coping during this time is particularly difficult for those struggling with underlying mental health conditions, such as PTSD, depression or anxiety. The practice of ‘grounding’…