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Loving caregivers, volunteers make life at the Tehachapi Senior Center joyful

Grassroots Tehachapi

Margie Kloth has only been a volunteer at Tehachapi's Senior Center for about two months, but her passion for the program sparked immediately.

"The special memories began the minute I walked into the room where the family members gathered for Friday morning activities, which included coffee, donuts/cookies, making a craft, playing Bingo and singing songs," Kloth said. "The ladies in charge impressed me so by their loving, giving ways toward their Friday friends. I knew this was the place for me to give back."

Kloth retired from Tehachapi Unified School District in 2012. She had read about the positive programs at the Senior Center and knew it was a place she wanted to explore. An unexpected move to help her daughter care for family members in Monterey, Calif. delayed her involvement. Six years later, she returned to her home in Alpine Forest and knew what her next step should be. Volunteering in the Respite Care program at the Senior Center.

"I wanted to give back what we had been so fortunate to have from our daughter while we were caregiving," she said.

The Respite Care program gives caregivers a chance to take a break for shopping, doctor appointments, etc. In that time, their loved ones can enjoy activities with their friends at the center.

"I'd recommend volunteering at the Senior Center for a truly beautiful experience with our Tehachapi seniors, getting to know the people responsible for the selfless giving to the Center and it's participants, plus other activities available to all Tehachapi Seniors," Kloth said.

The center's mission statement is to, "Improve and enhance the quality of life for seniors in Tehachapi, surrounding valleys and communities. [To] Provide necessary tools with education to keep skills and minds alert. [To] Help maintain self-sufficiency to perform daily tasks. To improve seniors' mental health and physical well-being by providing a secure, safe place where they may get nutritious meals, physical exercise, participate in social activities and recreation programs with other seniors."

Lewis Brown, president of the center, emphasized the benefits of the center, for its seniors, their loved ones and the family of staff and volunteers that keep it going.

"This is a place to go for fellowship, for exercise, for lunch, for entertainment," he said. "For the seniors, many of them get stuck at home. This is a place to meet a lot of friends. I like to say, it's a 'home away from home.'"

He also encourages people to give volunteering at the center a try. Volunteers are often needed to help with the lunch program.

"Everyone here is friendly. If you have worries, you leave them at home ... [volunteering] here has been a positive experience for a lot people," he said. "A lot of people lose loved ones and want people to connect to. This is a good place for that"

If you're interested in volunteering or learning more about the services available, visit the Tehachapi SENIOR CENTER at 500 E. F St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They can also be reached at (661) 822-5412.

See you next time and be kind to one another!

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at [email protected].