California Senior Services continue to make impact, despite budget cuts

Somehow, we at the AGE Blog, missed this great story about how a California nonprofit is making an impact in the community through their adult day care and other services. Check it out!-SP

St. Barnabas Senior Services Continues to Make an Impact Amidst Budget Battle

In the courtyard garden of the St. Barnabas S. Mark Taper Adult Day Health Care Center stands a beautiful tree. Lusine Nalbandyan, the director of Adult Day Care Services, remembers when, not long ago, the tree was dried and shriveled appearing to all onlookers to be dead. Nalbandyan, inspired by a gut feeling, did not allow the tree to be cut down. With some nurturing, the tree was revived. It stands today, lively and green, in the beautiful garden for all to enjoy.

Like the tree, many people who come through the doors of the St. Barnabas Day Care program have felt the years wear upon them. Some live with debilitating disabilities. Some have psychological disorders. Like the tree, they are nurtured each day.

St. Barnabas provides a community for those who need daily assistance and enables participants, and their families, to enjoy a greater quality of life, increased independence, and the opportunity to grow in a social family environment.

Earlier this year St. Barnabas Senior Services, which is a 102-year-old organization in the heart of Los Angeles, was recognized as one of the top performing nonprofits in LA County by The California Community Foundation (CCF).

Using 96 years of nonprofit expertise, CCF evaluates the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of services of nonprofits in Los Angeles and releases a publication highlighting those that are the top performers.

Raul Garza, Director of Communications at CCF, emphasized that the title endowed by his organization reflects a public vote of confidence in nonprofits that do the most for vulnerable populations. “St. Barnabas makes a demonstrable impact on Los Angeles,” he explains. “They are role models for other organizations.”

The day I visited St. Barnabas the clouds shrouded the sun, creating a dreary contrast to California weather typical for July. Inside, I was warmly greeted by smiling seniors. In the background a group of older women melodically sang songs for choir practice. As I moved through the room watching the small groups circled around checkers games, a woman bounded up with a cane and began to pat me on the back. She kissed my hand and said something in Korean. Though I did not understand her, her smile indicated she was happy to talk all the same. She was comfortable communicating in her native language — the participants in the program hail from all over the world and the center’s staff members speak over nine languages.

It was instantly evident to me why the people who come to St. Barnabas thrive. It was almost enough to forget the dreary environment outside — the melancholy chromaticity, which embodied the malaise caused by the news coming out of the capitol: the budget crisis will take a toll.

Facing a growing budget deficit, California governor Jerry Brown decided to make sweeping cuts to services Californians rely on, including the elimination of Medi-Cal coverage of Adult Day Health Care programs (ADHC) like the one at St. Barnabas.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post’s website.

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