Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Wakeland on Dec. 17 held the inaugural Senior Snow Ball at the Getty House, where senior citizens enjoyed dancing, dinner and entertainment.
Participants also had a chance to mingle with Kris Kringle, who happily posed for pictures. Marilyn Faber, of Canoga Park, asked Santa Claus for a special present: a boyfriend. She expected a prompt delivery on Christmas.
“I’m ready. He gets more than cookies and milk,” she joked.
Vicki Curry, associate director of communications for the mayor’s office, said Garcetti and Wakeland hope to make the event an annual senior winter celebration. She said the idea was to do something special for L.A.’s senior population, which Garcetti said was on the rise.
“The good news is your numbers are growing,” he told the crowd of approximately 350 seniors.
Last year, the number of Los Angeles residents over the age of 60 grew by 20 percent, Garcetti said. He said the city is home to approximately 1.5 million seniors.
“We couldn’t invite all of them tonight, so you guys made the cut,” Garcetti joked, “but you represent an incredible cadre of Angelenos.”
He said seniors comprise the fastest growing population in Los Angeles, and “it’s time” that city hall recognized that too.
“We are going to work day in and day out to deliver the best possible services to stand up for things like adult education for our seniors, to look at ways we can provide meals and recreation opportunities, to make sure no senior is living an isolated life here in Los Angeles, but is part of a community where we say thank you and where we reach out and touch you,” Garcetti added.
The mayor’s office coordinated with senior citizen centers throughout Los Angeles, and bussed many residents to the event, Curry said. She said the representatives of the mayor’s office sought seniors who may have never visited Getty House. Seniors attended from the Griffith Park Adult Community Center and City View Villa Senior Assisted Living, as well as centers in Glassell Park, South Los Angeles, Van Nuys, the Westside and Wilmington.
Several seniors in attendance had never been to city hall, so Garcetti extended an invitation downtown as well.
“I believe that not only is Getty House your house, but more importantly city hall is your house,” he said.
Garcetti said the docents who volunteer their time at city hall would be pleased to show them around the “incredible, historic structure.”
“The depth of their knowledge is simply astounding,” he said.
The mayor’s office honored the city hall docents with Crystal Awards. Honorees were Lorraine Ornelas, Audrey Lee, Mary Louise Reeves, Barbara Jones, Anna Brown, Chiyoko Ishiki, Audrey Legohn, Velma Harris, Karen Erickson and Mark Elinson.
After distributing the awards, the mayor and the first lady shared a dance. They were soon joined by the participants on the dance floor. Some seniors shared a dance with the U.S. Marines who were in attendance.
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