Happy Birthday, Avenidas!
Fifty years ago, senior services in the Palo Alto area were offered through disparate agencies at widely distant sites. For seniors, finding out information and getting referrals to those services was quite a daunting task. Today, scores of services and programs for older adults on the Mid-Peninsula, as well as referrals to and information about them, are housed under one roof—Avenidas.
The story of this transformation in senior services is the story of Avenidas, which this month celebrates five decades of coordinating services for seniors and creating innovative new programs to meet their changing needs. Our ultimate vision is to be a leader in the creation of a community that supports and celebrates its older adults.
Avenidas dates its birthday to 1969 when the SCC (Senior Coordinating Council of the Palo Alto Area—Avenidas’ former name) was formed. Working with the City of Palo Alto, the SCC persuaded officials to allow space in the main library for information, referral and counseling. Soon transportation and health services were added, along with directories of county-wide services and research into transportation
and housing needs. In 1974, following an initial survey a decade before, the SCC sponsored a comprehensive study of seniors in the area. From this grew a city-sponsored task force, “When We Grow Older in Palo Alto.” Observers peg the 1974 study and the task force recommendations as the basis for the development of senior services in the area.
Today, serving more than 7,500 people from southern San Mateo County to northern Santa Clara County annually, Avenidas is the place to go for information, services and activities for older adults. Our continuum of services includes classes, lectures, health screenings, social work services, information and assistance, transportation, handyman services, volunteer opportunities, adult day health and day care, and caregiver services. Avenidas is a unique combination of programs and services. People don’t come to our centers just for services. They come for activities and a variety of things. But when they need somebody to help them at Avenidas, it’s there. It’s the synergy of the place that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Come help us reflect on the past and celebrate the future at our 50th birthday party, which will be a community party at 450 Bryant Street on Saturday, October 19th. We look forward to seeing you there!