President’s Message – June 2020

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Orinda Celebrates Together (apart)

    Congratulations to the graduating seniors of Miramonte High School and to all the graduates in the Orinda United School District! We are very proud of their success.
    This has been a very strange and difficult year for students. As they chart a new course for the future, may they use the learned strength and resiliency skills to empower them.
    We applaud the pronouncements from the students, friends and parents in the insert of this edition of The Orinda News. We thank the teachers, staff, principals, administration and parents for their continued support and encouragement throughout the year.
    It has also been a tough year for our senior citizens, especially the residents in senior care homes who have been the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Statistics show these residents represent a majority of confirmed cases of infections.
    Towards this end, Orinda and Lafayette Vice Mayors Amy Worth and Susan Candell have teamed up to lead the effort to provide free COVID-19 testing to those living in senior care homes in Orinda, Lafayette and Moraga.
    The Contra Costa Health Services department has been overwhelmed and does not have the resources to test all senior care facilities in the area, making this private effort critical. Kudos to Sue Severson of the Orinda Community Foundation (OCF) who started a fundraising drive to purchase the needed test kits. To make a donation, go to www.orindacommunityfoundation.org.
    Orindans opened their wallets to The Orinda Association (OA) during the #GivingTuesday global donation drive in response to the coronavirus. Money raised supports the Volunteer Emergency Support Program (VESP) of Seniors Around Town (SAT), which has proven essential during shelter in place.
    SAT, a free transportation service for Orinda seniors, adapted the program during the COVID-19 crisis, offering assistance to homebound residents. This involved 49 volunteers who delivered groceries and made reassurance phone calls to 75 seniors.
    Looking forward, safety protocol plans are being developed to restart medical rides for seniors on June 8. While there is a continuing concern of the coronavirus impact on the senior community, there is also a great need to provide transportation to medical appointments.
    Meanwhile, the OA’s Fourth of July committee is planning a celebration — but differently! The theme is Orinda Celebrates Together (apart). Starting at 10:30 a.m. there is a video presentation (narrated by Steve Hardwood) of sights and sounds from past parades. At noon, it’s planned to have five minutes of noise (get your noise makers) to celebrate essential workers, ourselves, and our community.
    The committee is encouraging people to decorate their homes, dress in costume and submit photographs which could be highlighted in The Orinda News, online, or in a virtual celebration.
    These are just some ideas being planned. Just because we can’t have a parade, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate together (apart).As we look forward to September, the OA has decided to have a virtual Classic Car Show. Organizers are coming up with alternatives to this classic event. The Orinda Classic Car Show, which draws thousands of people to Orinda to enjoy vintage vehicles, provides needed revenue for many Orinda nonprofit organizations such as Seniors Around Town, Orinda Community Foundation, Lamorinda Arts Council and Orinda Historical Society. In the coming months, we will provide details on celebrating this event – together 
(apart).

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