Celebrating our members, our growth, and bright plans for the future
Members and patrons enjoyed a festive evening of entertainment, friendship, delicious food, and exciting news about the growth and future for the Center on September 21. In the last 10 years, the Center has enjoyed a 75 percent growth in membership—providing both top-line concerts and entertainment, and a wide variety of health, fitness and educational classes. The event also featured remarks from members of the board and local politicians, an array of music—from opera to blues and classical guitar, and guests had an opportunity to paint on a canvas with an artist instructor.
“I have witnessed first-hand how lives are touched and changed by the programs and experiences of our members,” said Nancy Walters in her remarks to the audience. “I believe our greatest accomplishment is to provide a place for adults and seniors to connect, pursue lifelong learning and be well—in mind and body.” For her role in the growth and expansion of programs, Nancy received an award of appreciation from CEO Ruth Yansick, who cited her “continued dedication in the growth and expansion of the Center.” Yansick also introduced City Council member Barbara Bry, who praised the Center for its community-based programs.
Chairman of the board Glen Rasmussen provided a brief history of the Center’s genesis and continued growth. Owned by the City of San Diego, the center was operated by several outside organizations but without success. “I was intrigued by its openness and airiness and thought, ‘What if we could form a local nonprofit, run by volunteers who live in the community that it was intended to serve?’” He expressed gratitude to Dr. Lee Vida, who, along with Dr. Jim Walker made the vision a lifetime commitment.
Rasmussen explained that with the help of Sherri Lightner and Council District 1, the Center received federal and other grants to ensure ADA-compliance and provided a new building front, lobby, and floors. He mentioned that the energy-efficient lighting was added thanks to Ron Roberts of the San Diego Board of Supervisors. “We now have 800 members,” he said, adding that they have kept the fees very low and the endowment we are searching for must come from our sustaining members and the community.” Board member Don Hodges provided some detail about the Center’s renovations and was excited to announce that along with grants, a capital campaign effort will be initiated for new roofing.
Throughout the event, guests could try their hand at painting on canvas, with some instruction provided by artist Dana Levine. The evening’s musical showcase featured jazz musicians Rob Thorsen and Steph Johnson; opera singers Bernardo Bermundez and Victoria Robertson, who serenaded guests, strolling inside and outside in the courtyard and delivering roses to some of the lucky guests. Finally, the evening culminated with classical guitarist James Clarkston.
Members Receive Recognition
Members Naomi Thomas and Bassie Kanon were both honored during the event for their sustained and significant contributions to the Center. Long-time member Naomi Thomas was an early underwriter for the Jazz Concert series 4 years ago and continues to support the event. Bassie Kanon, a 5-year member, has helped to market the center and sponsored numerous programs.
La Jolla Community Center thanks these dedicated members who donate their time and talent to the success of the center.