Tipping a hat to Dr. Seuss

Posted: March 10, 2015 | Written by: Ciara Gutierrez and Katarina Ayoub

The Dales Senior Center Organizes community event celebrating the young at heart

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FOREVER YOUNG: The Dales Senior Center staff, volunteers and senior citizens enjoying their luncheon at the “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” event in Riverside on March 2. (Katrina Ayoub | Viewpoints)

Creating a lifelong path may be hard to do, but with given support of a loved one, suddenly everything makes sense, such as tying your shoes.

This is exactly what recreation service coordinator Kristen Reid did for herself.

Unsure of what specific direction Reid would go after she graduated from high school, she took the advice of her father and joined him in the field of public service.

“My dad does this,” Reid said. “He’s done it his entire life. He recommended it. I tried it. I got hooked.”

He opened her eyes to what became a definitive choice in her career.

Helping seniors transition through life and have a comfortable place to be, as they get older has always been something she admires.

After receiving her degree in Recreation and Leisure Service, Reid has dedicated herself to her profession for 14 years now.

“How many get to say they like what they do?” Reid said. “I love going to work.”

The Dales Senior Center, hosts many events. On March 2, the “Hat’s Off to Dr. Seuss” event was specifically in honor of the authors’ birthday.

Senior Citizens of Riverside prepared their hats for the “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” luncheon. Seniors who wanted to participate were asked to either pay a $3 fee or donate an old children’s book.

All donations will be given to Time For Tots and local after-school programs in need.

“We wanted to try something different,” Reid said. “Something social just to have fun, and act like a kid again.”

Seniors were given a classic Dr. Seuss reading provided by staff, as well as lunch and a movie, all centered around the author.

“Wonderful, it is so wonderful,” Lucy Tello, yearlong committed senior member said. “They are always having such wonderful events.”

Reid is regularly preparing different events including optional classes for the seniors at The Dales Senior Center to experience new activities.

With the help of their incredible staff and volunteers to make this possible, senior citizens are able to share their unique skills with other seniors.

“We rely highly on our volunteers,” Reid said.

Volunteers can range from teens to seniors. The center also allows those who are older to teach classes.

“The volunteers worked for so long,” Reid said. “They all have skills to help keep sharp and utilize those skills. It gives them an opportunity to give back.”

The center provides an opportunity for the senior citizens to share their unique talents such as pottery, photography and jewelry making.

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HATS ON: Recreation service coordinator Kristen Reid poses next to Dr. Seuss. (Katarina Ayoub | Viewpoints)

“We’ll have socials, dinner dances and our luncheons are monthly,” Reid said. “Getting them to mingle, keeping them active and social, it’s really nice to see them having fun.”

Different events are being prepared every month along with luncheons for $3 and dinners for $10.

“People in their nineties come out and dance throughout the whole time,” said staff member Kathy Spalding.

Spalding has volunteered at the center for four years. “They’re amazing,” Spalding said.

The Dales Senior Center works hard to create a venue where members can feel at home.

On the third Friday of April, the next major event will be a “Black and White Affair,” where guests prepare themselves for a thrilling evening of music, food and dancing.

“Our dinner dances are at night so we get to wear our Winter Wonder Land holiday gowns, tuxedos and ball gowns,” Reid said. “It’s a lot of fun.”