After months of demolition and construction, permits and certificates, packing and moving, the East Valley Multipurpose has a new home and a new name.
The Sherman Oaks/East Valley Adult Center finally threw open its doors earlier this week. On the first day, 106 people came for lunch, far more than usual.
“It’s exciting to be here!” exclaimed the center's executive director, Sherry Revord. “I think everybody is excited. I think my staff is excited, my volunteers are excited. The seniors are certainly excited.”
Named by a focus group of seniors, the new center is sponsored by a partnership between the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and the Valley Interfaith Council, which administers the multipurpose center. It combines the resources and services to the frail homebound provided by the East Valley center, as well as the classes that were offered there, with the recreational opportunities for active older adults of the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Senior Citizens’ Center, which once stood at the current location, in Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park.
“Both populations have new opportunities to get healthy and have fun,” Revord said.
In an accompanying video, we join the senior lunchers for a little musical entertainment, and then Revord takes us on a tour of the social service areas and introduces us to staff members and volunteers.
Roz Brown is senior recreation director for the Department of Recreation and Parks. The department's senior services are available to anyone over age 50. All of the programs cost only a minimal fee. Brown oversees use of all the buildings, including use by permit groups and federation clubs, “a big umbrella network of senior activities all over the city,” she said. Brown also deals with class instructors and students.
“There’s a lot of one-on-one interaction in this job,” Brown said. “If seniors call me about anything under the sun, I help them or make a referral or refer them to Valley Interfaith next door … or do anything it takes to make them happy and comfortable.”
In the second video, Brown (wearing a delightful mint-green sun hat) describes the Recreation and Parks offerings.
The three new and colorful, buildings are set on a campus in the park at 5056 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. There is plenty of free parking in a lot off Addison Street and in other lots around the park. For seniors who can no longer drive to the lunch program, the center provides van transportation. A new batch of Sherman Oaks clients have availed themselves of the center’s transportation program.
For clients 60 and older, the center’s service-area boundaries still extend from Victory Boulevard to Mulholland Drive and from Balboa Boulevard on the west to Clybourn Avenue on the east, described by federal funders as the “southeast Valley aging service area.”
Revord expects the service population to increase by about 25 percent. However, the center will not get increased funding or staff. As a result, client needs will have to be carefully examined. “I think we have a lot of room in our homebound meal program, which is good,” Revord said, “because as people in this community find out about it they’ll be referring us to their homebound friends and neighbors and relatives.”
The center’s class schedule includes bridge and mah-jongg, senior exercise, yoga, tai chi, line dance and salsa aerobics. Thursday in the lunchroom still means music and now the musicians and singers perform from a theatrical stage. Revord hopes to entice a chef into the state-of-the-art kitchen in the new multipurpose building to teach cooking-for-one classes or show how to prepare meals for diabetics.
“I think the seniors feel honored to have this new facility,” Revord said. “It makes them feel valued by the community.”
To reach the city Department of Recreation and Parks, call 818-386-9674. For the Sherman Oaks/East Valley Adult Center, call 818-981-1284.