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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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