Hearts in Numbers, of Every Shape and Size

Cupid “flew” over Montecito and landed at the Friendship Center, where he did quite a number. Big hearts, small hearts, heart balloons, hearts that lit up, papier-mâché hearts, candy hearts, heart sachets, hearts in the restroom, decorating the large glass birdhouse and a tribute tree of hearts. This was the 8th annual Festival of Hearts (Help Elders-at-Risk Today!) Valentine party.

Nearly 100 artists, including Bud Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Barnaby Conrad, Jim Dow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kathy Ireland, Arlene Larsen and Sharon Morrow gave from their hearts and created heart art to be auctioned off. Students from Cesar Chavez Charter, Santa Barbara High, Villa Esperanza and La Posada schools made hearts for guests to choose and take home.

Presiding over the day care facility for the past 21 years has been Executive Director Heidi Holly, who praised her staff. Board President Marty Moore teased the audience: “Next to Disneyland, it’s [the center] the happiest place on earth.” Those who attend are older adults who have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, people who need supervision during the day, people with physical or mental limitations or people who may be socially isolated or lonely. There’s a bus to pick up these seniors at their homes. They are given breakfast and lunch and are offered programs to keep them active and help them make friends. No one is turned away due to inability to pay. Caregivers get a break. Sue Adams gave a heartfelt tribute to the center, where her husband, Sam, comes twice a week.

Mayor Marty Blum was honorary host with K-Lite’s Catherine Remak acting as emcee. Auctioneer Gail Rappaport kept the audience laughing and, more importantly, bidding for trips and dinners. There was jazz and good Buttonwood wine while guests bid on the silent auction. The sunny courtyard is a perfect party place and was set with tables for the buffet lunch donated by The Parsons Group, Friendship Manor, Garden Court and The Gables of Ojai.

Event Chair Olga Rogers (with cupid’s help) coordinated the whole affair along with the Auxiliary Committee and Karen Browdy, who found artists to donate their time and talent. Mayor Blum surprised volunteers Flora Burnham, Judy Thielscher and Ken and Franci Jewesson with the Big Heart award.

For more info on the Friendship Adult Day Care Center call 969-0859 or visit www.friendshipcentersb.org.