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September 25, 2012 > Giving seniors a grand night out

Giving seniors a grand night out

By Julie Grabowski

Friday night and for most, the options are endless. Concerts, plays, movies, comedy shows, restaurants galore - plenty of pieces to put together a pretty great night. But for some, one simple night out is the rarest of things, and the greatest of gifts.

The Tri-City Elder Coalition (TCEC) is hosting its 19th annual Seniors' Night Out with circus flair, giving all seniors in the community a chance to spend a night "Under the Big Top." On Friday, October 5, over 300 people will gather at the Fremont Marriott Hotel to experience entertainment, food, and friendship.

The event was initially established to provide home-bound and frail seniors an opportunity for a night on the town, and has expanded into a fundraising event as well. Each year has a different festive theme with proceeds going to TCEC's Pathways to Positive Aging projects and Personal Urgent Need Fund (PUN), helping seniors throughout the Tri-Cities with various medical and person needs. This is the only fundraising event for the PUN Fund.

"There are so many seniors in our community who really don't get out much," says Seniors' Night Out Chair Linette Young. People always ask her about the event and are eager to attend, saying they really look forward to it all year long. Young says this event helps the community by "filling a need for seniors who don't have a lot to look forward to."

"Under the Big Top" aims to give them a night to remember with clowns; basket raffles; prizes and certificates; banquet style fare; and entertainment by In Full Swing, a 15-piece orchestra comprised of seniors, sponsored by the Castro Valley Adult School. Attendees will enjoy the great yesteryear sounds of Big Band music as well as hits right up to the present day. Bay Area Event Photography will provide everyone with a commemorative picture, and attendees will be crossing their fingers in hopes of taking home the evening's Grand Prize of an iPad, generously donated by Fremont Hills Assisted Living. Each attendee receives one free raffle ticket, and can buy additional tickets to better their chances.

With all the promise of fun and excitement, there is one important factor that seniors need to enjoy this special evening - you. TCEC needs community members to be escorts and sponsors so as many seniors as possible are able to attend this event. Escorts pick seniors up at their homes, take them to the event, and return them home after the festivities. They are asked to pay for their own dinner if possible for $50, and would be helping out tremendously if they could sponsor their senior as well for $55, part of which goes to the PUN Fund. Anyone in the community is able to help by sponsoring a senior for the evening, or donating any amount they wish. Those who donate will also be entered in the drawing for the iPad, regardless of attendance. $10 will get you five chances to win the popular tablet.

Young says many seniors are very reliant on Medicare and Medical who have made a lot of cutbacks in what they cover. Proceeds from the event will also go to a variety of extras where seniors need help, from dental work to the very simplest of needs, as in the case of one senior who just needed a new pillow. "Seniors in this area are struggling," says Young. "With cutbacks there's so much they can't afford."

As Seniors' Night Out is a self-paid event, TCEC appreciates the aid of individuals, corporations, and companies in making a difference in the lives of our seniors. Event sponsors include Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Washington Hospital Foundation, and Cargill Salt, who receive warm- hearted thanks for being the event's largest supporter for all 19 years.

To sponsor or escort a senior, call (510) 818-9888 or e-mail SeniorsNightOut@comcast.net. Those interested in being escorts are asked to respond by Friday, September 28 at the latest. To learn more about the Tri-City Elder Coalition, call (510) 574-2063 or visit www.tceconline.org.

Seniors Night Out
Friday, Oct 5
5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Fremont Marriott
46100 Landing Pkwy., Fremont
(510) 818-9888

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