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August 19, 2009 > Aloha, Hawaii visits Union City

Aloha, Hawaii visits Union City

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Edward Rivera

The Ruggieri Center was transformed into a tropical-island paradise on August 14. Everyone rejoiced and enjoyed Hawaiian culture, music and dance. The Senior Center's "The Islanders" ukulele group performed several songs followed by performances by Gerri Lee Castro's Hula Hula Dancers, also based at the center.

"The Islanders" serenaded the Hawaiian Luncheon crowd with their ukuleles and South Seas tones. Gently swaying palms against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean conjured up images of the beach to any reflective mind in the audience.

Dressed in their favorite, colorful Hawaiian wear, seniors enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Hayward's Spectrum Community Services, Inc. Around 140 seniors attended the luncheon.

The assembly hall was decorated with varied fishes, fishing nets, paper hula guys and girls, paper lanterns, Aloha banners all contributed to create the ambience of Hawaii. Performances by both the groups received enthusiastic applause from the audience. Winners of the raffle took home prizes including live plants.

"This event is one of our more popular ones and is usually a sell-out every year," said Edward Rivera, Office Administrator at the Ralph & Mary Ruggieri Senior Center.

Seniors interested in either learning to play the ukulele and/or to Hula dance, can do so at the senior center.

Ace Chong, one of The Islanders' founder members, teaches a Beginners' Ukulele class on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Gerri lee Castro teaches Hula dance class for beginners on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Gerri Lee has taught the art of Hula for many years.

For more information about activities at the Ruggieri Senior Center, visit, call (510) 675 5495 or visit the center at 33997 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City.

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