Hello Friends and Family!
In October 2019 I was invited by my wonderful friend, Karen Clark, to a fundraising event called an Evening of Comedy to raise funds for the Council on Aging of Southern California.
The Council’s mission is to promote the independence, health and dignity of older adults through compassion, education and advocacy. The Council has a number of programs, with the Evening of Comedy focused on the funding the SmileMaker’s Holiday Gift Program, an event where the Council gives thousands and thousands of holiday gifts to older and disabled adults, many of whom have limited companionship or none at all, and whose life is brightened by the efforts of the Council and its volunteers.
I was so impressed by the Council’s work that I joined Karen as a member of the Council’s Board of Directors.
Due to COVID, seniors are more isolated than ever and the Council’s work is even more critical. The Evening of Comedy - the Council’s main annual fundraiser - is usually at a ballroom in Orange County. I would love to invite you all there to join me for dinner and an evening of laughter, generosity and companionship!!! But COVID has put a stop to that. However, the leadership of the Council has determined that the needs of seniors must be met and the show must go on! So the 2020 Evening of Comedy is now an online event and you are all invited! The details are below.
Most importantly, Karen and I have established coordinated websites to jointly raise funds for the Council on Aging. Please go to https://www.betterunite.com/CouncilonAgingSouthernCalifornia-virtualaneveningofcomedy/fundraise/karenclark to learn about Karen’s story.
Karen and I have set a goal to raise $20,000! The best part for you and for the Council on Aging is that each dollar that you give will be matched jointly by Karen and me, up to our goal of $20,000. This means that Team Fred and Karen, with your help can raise as much as $40,000 for the Council on Aging! Any donations you make on either my or Karen’s website will apply to our joint fundraising goal.
As I mentioned, I was so impressed by the Council’s work that I joined the Board last year. However, I am not sure that I would have completely appreciated the power of what the Council is doing had I not personally observed the isolation of seniors, and the impact that a little compassion and kindness can have on their lives.
My fundraising efforts for this event, and my participation on the Board of the Council, are in honor of my mother, Terri Randall. Terri passed away peacefully in the arms of her children at her beloved cottage on Lake Michigan in June 2018. Terri was an amazing person, as all of you who knew her can attest. She was a person of joy and great character, with one of her most defining virtues being compassion for others, particularly the young and the old.
During her life she touched many people. After WWII she helped people in Europe displaced by the war. Later, she ran a program called the Foster Grandparents Program that matched the elderly with children with disabilities for companionship. I was in my teens when she did this, and I will always remember the joy shared by the participants in the program, many of whom were marginalized or were living a lonely existence. Later in life she worked as a volunteer at a local hospital setting up a geriatric program which would be the foundation of what would eventually become the premier geriatric center in the city.
Terri and her husband Fred Randall Sr. had four children, my three fabulous sisters and me. Her wonderful husband passed away at the young age of 72. Terri had four loving, talented and compassionate grandchildren, and thereafter became known as “Nana.”
Nana began experiencing the impact of Alzheimers in her 80s, and at 85 she fell and fractured her pelvis. The fall accelerated the progression of Alzheimers, and for the next three years she lived in an assisted living facility.
It was during this period that I came to understand the isolation and loneliness of many seniors in facilities. My sisters and I did the best we could to not only comfort Nana, but to bring some joy to the other seniors living in the facility. My sister Therese, the only one of my siblings living in Michigan and the true artistic, creative genius of our family, came up with idea after idea to delight and entertain the residents.
Therese and Nana created a “Fashion Show” for the residents, having vans take the residents to Therese’s favorite second hand store to pick out garments of their choice on consignment. And then they would do the show in a large room at the facility, with the residents modeling their garments through a “runway” walk or wheelchair roll, with the MC announcing and the crowd cheering. It was such a huge success that it became an annual event. In addition to all of Therese’s many contributions at the residence, my California sisters Marie, Anne and I would fly in as often as possible and bring treats for the residents, throw pizza parties, throw sing alongs, and do whatever we could to bring some comfort and companionship.
Those experiences taught me that a little love and effort can go a long way. The Council on Aging has programs that bring joy, safety and security to the lives of seniors.
I think Nana would probably be a Council volunteer if she were with us today. I have no doubt she would donate. Maybe she would be out there wrapping gifts for seniors or leading a sing along. She loved to sing.
I hope you will join me, in honor of my Mom, to raise vital funds for the Council on Aging SmileMaker’s Holiday Gift Program. This program brings joy to the most vulnerable seniors, those without friends and family to help them, those without any expectation of receiving any holiday gift this year.
No donation you make is too small. Every dollar will go for gifts and services for these seniors who have been left behind.
Learn more about the SmileMaker’s Holiday Gift Program Here:
A happy smiling senior
receiving her SmileMaker's gift
Our annual Evening of Comedy is unique this year due to COVID -19 and our inability to hold the event at the hotel as we normally do. Instead, it will be a live streamed comedic hour of humor, fun and compassion for our mission.
Three amazing comedians, Jay Mohr, Fritz Coleman (yes, the weatherman is a very funny person) and Frances Dilorinzo will be entertaining us on October 3rd from 7 to 8 PM available on Youtube Live or Facebook Live. Please donate to our fundraising campaign between now and October 3rd, and join us for this fun evening.
Just as in years past, this special campaign will directly support the SmileMakers Holiday Gift Program and other services for thousands of lonely, isolated seniors. But without a silent or live auction as part of the event this year, it is your personal contribution that will provide the necessary funding to support this program.
Council on Aging – Southern California provides a wide range of free programs and services to over 240,000 seniors in a 5 County area, helping them remain healthy, connected and protected. Please go to our website - www.coasc.org – to learn more about this amazing organization.
Thank you for joining me in making a difference in the lives of seniors.
Fred Randall Jr.