Gardena on the Go is an adventure waiting to happen

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Photo courtesy of the city of Gardena Seniors who took part in the Gardena on the Go program visited Microsoft in April. They took a trip to the LA County Fair in May and will soon be visiting Dodger Stadium to see the men in blue.

Many people who manage to make it to their golden years find that their life has gradually and yet dramatically changed. Many lose friends and relationships in addition to the eventual loss of physical abilities. This can cause many seniors to give up on life and turn into homebodies. Gardena On The Go is the city’s way of changing all of that for its population of senior citizens. The city’s website states that 30 percent of Gardena’s approximately 62,000 population is age 45 and older, making a service like the Gardena On The Go Excursion Program very much in need. Each month, the Gardena On The Go Excursion Program takes local seniors to various points of interest using several types of mass transportation such as passenger vans, charter buses and GTrans buses. “Last month, seniors went to the Microsoft Theater in Downtown LA to see a Cirque du Soleil show,” said Christina Theobald, program coordinator. “In June, we are planning on heading to the new SoFi stadium for a tour.” In addition to the Cirque du Soleil performance, also in May, the program took a group of 21 seniors to the L.A. County Fair in Pomona. Theobald said the trip was so successful that a second group of 23 seniors were taken the following week. When the seniors go to SoFi stadium in June, the senior group will use a GTrans 7X vehicle to get to and from the stadium in Inglewood. On July 8, Gardena On The Go plans to take seniors to Dodger Stadium for City of Gardena Dodger Day. During all of the excursions, at least one staff member of the Gardena Senior Bureau accompanies the group. During the recent trip to the L.A. County Fair, for example, two 15-passenger vans were employed, requiring two drivers. Prior to COVID and the subsequent lockdowns, the program was active. In February 2020, a group of seniors was taken to the San Antonio Winery in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles for a tour, wine tasting, and lunch. “We are working hard to plan an excursion each month,” Theobald said. “The fees associated with each trip cover the cost of admission and transportation.” Currently, masks are required for participants riding public transportation and each destination has their own COVID protocols. All protocols for transportation and destinations are made known to all participating seniors. Currently, locations that are being considered for future excursions are the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and a ride to San Diego on the Amtrak Surfrider train. Senior citizens can gain many benefits from engaging in regular trips outside of their homes, especially since many seniors often feel as if they have already seen and done it all. The senior living blog www.discoveryvillages.com lists several benefits for seniors who decide to venture out of their comfort zone: Improves mental health Keeps the mind open to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences Keeps the body and mind healthy An opportunity to make new friends Keeps the mind mentally sharp Increases self confidence Seniors who want information on excursions can call the Gardena Senior Center at 310-217- 9552, or email them at seniors@ cityofgardena.org, or visit the center in person at the Nakaoka Community Center. Those interested can also follow them at Gardena Events on Facebook or @GardenaEvents on Instagram. Anyone who wishes to receive monthly email from the Senior Center can visit www.cityofgardena.org/events and click on the “Stay in the Know” option to join their e-mail list.

Gardena on the Go is an adventure waiting to happen