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Beverly Schydlowsky, Naomi Schwartz Named Santa Barbara County’s Senior Citizens of the Year

Noozhawk named Media Advocate of the Year by Area Agency on Aging at annual Celebration Tea

In honor of older Americans who make a difference in the community, the Area Agency on Aging and the Administration on Aging recently held a Celebration Tea to honor nominees for various programs and individuals who contributed to the well being of seniors on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast and in the North County.

Dr. Beverly Schydlowsky, a co-founder of the nonprofit Santa Barbara Village, and former 1st District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, executive director of the Gildea Foundation, were honored as Senior Citizens of the Year, while Noozhawk and publisher Bill Macfadyen were named Media Advocate of the Year.

At the 27th annual Celebration Tea, held at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton, the Caregiver of the Year honors were shared by Nancy Warda, a volunteer peer counselor at the Center for Successful Aging, Jeanne West, the FAST coordinator.

Rosemary Perry, a longtime volunteer at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, and Marco Quintanar, senior case manager at the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County and a 5 Wishes program trainer, received Intergenerational Effort of the Year honors.

Those honored as Older Workers of the Year were Mary Jane Dittman, a 71-year-old, nine-year caregiver at Merrill Gardens at Santa Maria; Marvin Johnson, a Solvang Senior Center volunteer who provides computer instruction for seniors; and Marcus Thrane, a volunteer for the RSVP and Volunteer Center of Santa Barbara.

The Brown Bag Program of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Connections at Friendship Center and PathPoint’s Senior Community Service Employment Program were recognized as Senior Citizen Programs of the Year.

Joining Schwartz and Schydlowsky as Senior Citizen of the Year nominees were Noozhawk columnist Paul Burri, a longtime volunteer small-business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE; Solvang Senior Center volunteer tax preparation coordinator Jerry Ewing; and Priscilla Fellows, a 98-year-old Merrill Gardens resident.

The Santa Barbara Village program is designed for seniors who want to live safely and comfortably in their own homes as long as possible. The concept is backed by a spectrum of service providers and community members, all of whom worked together to research, design and find initial funding for this cutting-edge membership program.

Modeled after the Beacon Hill Village in Boston, seniors will be part of a virtual community by continuing to live in their own houses and can partake in a myriad of services and activities that will be made available to members. All of the service providers will be carefully screened and feedback will be obtained from those who received service from one of the referred providers so that quality of the services can be continually monitored and sustained. The launch date is expected to be in October.

Schydlowsky has been a very active part of the nonprofit community since she moved here from Boston in 1999. She served as director of the Santa Barbara Counseling Center and helped develop it into a highly regarded training center for interns of psychology, social work, and marriage and family counselors. She then founded and brought the Senior Peer Counseling Program to Santa Barbara, which trained volunteers in counseling skills for individuals and groups. Later, this grew into the Center for Successful Aging over the 18 years of its existence.

Her most recent efforts, along with a few of her colleagues in service to the senior population, is to begin the Center for Intergenerational Relations. The center will provide education and support to the “sandwich generation” by helping families with their coping strategies for caring and meeting the needs of their aging parents. Families will be helped to re-examine and change their roles in the service of working together and providing support to each other, including all the generations.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Village, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Suzanne McNeely is the president of Senior Planning Services.

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