Photo by Flavia Potenza
Canyon Sages coordinator Karen Dannenbaum and volunteer Kat High are ready to serve senior holiday revelers at the 2022 Christmas Dinner.
One of Topangaâ€™s best kept secrets is theÂ Canyon Sages shouldnâ€™t be a secret and now itâ€™s time for residents to rally to its noble cause.
The Canyon Sagesâ€™ roots go back to 2009 whenÂ it gotÂ itsÂ official name. Before that it was a handful of folks volunteering toÂ offer fun activities for seniors and watch over Topangaâ€™s most vulnerable residents, the elderly, theÂ infirm and the homeless in some cases.Â
COVID hobbled the Sages, shrinking its numbers as many of our volunteers are retirees who have moved away, developed health issues, or passed away, so we find ourselves short of Topangans who are willing to share their expertise and good-hearted service.Â Â Â Â
Volunteer Meeting, March 16!
Meet the Board members and volunteers in the beautiful Sages classroom at the Topanga Community Center (TCC), enjoy refreshments, meet new friends, connect with old friends, learn about volunteer opportunities and bring your ideas for new programs, classes and services. Coffee, tea, cookies and cake will be served.
If you are recently retired, semi-retired andÂ want to join or volunteer:email@example.com; or Linric10@hotmail.com.Â
Why You Should Volunteer.
Today the Canyon Sages is a full- service, dues-free organization for seniors that is facilitated by current Board Members, President James Grasso, Velvet Marshall, Susan Clark, Wendy Forrester, Karen Dannenbaum, John Coffer and Susan Wiebusch.Â
Social Services: One of the founders, MicheleÂ Johnson,Â began her careerÂ in social work andÂ was President forÂ the first years. Susan ClarkÂ now leads the social services effort with volunteers TamÂ Taylor, Wendy Forrester, Linnea Richards and Michele Johnson.
Most of us offering services are retired professionalsâ€”Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Family Law, Health Care and Home Care.
Most cases are temporary until solutions are found and involve support for elders recovering from surgery, needs for housing, transportation or help navigating the Topanga terrain. However, no expertise is required, just good-hearted willingness to serve byÂ offering transportation, meals, shopping or research into County services. Handyman skills are also in demand, especiallyÂ after the recent deluge.Â Â Â
Â There was one case where the Sages stepped in to help an elderly Topangan in the early stages of dementia who was being scammed.
In an emergency, call 9-1-1 first, but assistance is available at the Sages emergency hotline for seniors at: (310) 455-7268, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes it is frustrating to work with our County services; the Sages help with that, too, and the satisfaction of working as a team is its own reward.Â Â
Sages Low-cost Classes:Â Free and low-cost classesÂ and free clubs for seniors of all ages often meet in the beautiful Sages Room at the TCC, at the Topanga Library, and in private homes. The schedule can be found at canyonsages.com.
If you would like to offer a class or volunteer to assist, contact class coordinator, Velvet Marshall at email@example.com.
Monthly Senior Dinner.
Topanga sometimes refers to itself as the Last of the Wild West with a deep history and a cast of characters still living to tell their stories, also chronicled in â€śThe Topanga Storyâ€ť (topangahistoricalsociety.org) and decades of local newspapers.
Meet them and hear their stories at the Canyon Sagesâ€™ free monthly dinners. This isÂ its main social eventÂ usuallyÂ held the first Friday of the month from October-June at the Community House. Here you can catch up with your neighbors and meet new friends over a delicious, free dinner. Joe Grasso is Chef for the monthly dinners and longtime volunteer Lisa Villasenor prepares theÂ year-end Holiday DinnerÂ in December. All food is prepared and served by volunteers. RSVP is required.
For more about the dinners or to volunteer: Karen Dannenbaum at Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org.