News from Andalucía and La Coruña: Flashback to the Fourth

Fourth of July BBQ and Line Dancing

We had a ho-down! Road Theatre Company member and professional choreographer Jessica Wierzba came in to teach the residents some Line Dancing.

Elizabeth bought cowboy hats for everyone and they were greeted with a hat at the door, which, once donned, put them officially in the mood for some flattened, scorched cattle meat and a couple of knee-slapping, “Yee-Haaas!”

Jessica and Programs Assistant Brian Cole, tearing up the floor.

While we were dancing in the cool, air-conditioned community room, Andalucía Manager Louis Perla was outside in the 97 degree heat, cooking up hamburgers and hot dogs for the crowd.

A sea of white hats – I guess they are all “Good Guys.”

Having fun.

The day ended with a cake and singing “Happy Birthday” to the Manager of La Coruna, Kea Kane.

~ Elizabeth Sampson, Regional Program Director


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Catching the Winning Spirit at the 1st Annual Engage Community Cup

Residents from 23 EngAGE communities competed in the first annual Engage Community Cup on September 16th at Cerritos Park East in Cerritos, CA.

LBSAC Program Director Helene Weinberg reports: “The fifteen-member team from the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony, aka “The Ladies of Long Beach,” ages 59 to 79, showed their style in the athletic field events, art, and performance competitions. They earned the most medals for these events and were named the Community Cup Champions! The LBSAC team won the championship trophy for the former Engage Senior Olympics in 2014 and 2015, and were determined to take home the coveted cup this year. We are so proud of this accomplishment and congratulate all 23 teams who participated!”


Here’s a great highlight video of the event, made by Helene.


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Ashton Applewhite’s Ted Talk: Let’s End Ageism

Friend of EngAGE Ashton Applewhite, author of  This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, presents a rousing Ted Talk that’s well worth 11 minutes of your time.


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News from Burbank Senior Artists Colony: Poetry Book Release and Signing 10/1

~ Megan Hocking, Program Director


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News from Long Beach Senior Arts Colony: Doing a Double Take in Ceramics

Ceramics instructor Colette Brown instructed her students at LBSAC in Long Beach, CA, on how to make a sculpture self- portrait — or portrait of a friend or family member. Below, center, Colette sculpted a self-portrait head, while resident Elena, right, sculpted a head of “Frenchie” in preparation for the art display at the EngAGE Community Cup (formerly Senior Olympics) on Saturday, September 16th. Martha, left, sculpted her mother who lives in El Salvador.  Martha used a photo of her mother to replicate her features and hopes to send the sculpture to her as a gift for her 90th birthday. Great work!

~ Helene Weinberg, Program Director


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Experience Talks 9/17: Michael Alexander and Julie Carmen Hoffman

Tune in to Experience Talks, our weekly “Radio Magazine for the Experienced Listener,” on Sundays at 5:00 PM PT on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles, 98.7 FM Santa Barbara, 99.5 China Lake, 93.7 N. San Diego, streaming live online, and now syndicated on up to 100 Pacifica Network stations! Experience Talks is produced by the non-profit EngAGE, Inc.


Miss the show? You can always hear it as a podcast on the Listen Page of our website! You’ll also find an archive-in-progress of all of our previous shows there for you to enjoy. New shows are usually posted within 48 hours after broadcast.



SUNDAY 9/17 @ 5 PM PDT

MICHAEL ALEXANDER has devoted his entire professional career to the arts, working to make stellar performances, in many genres, accessible to diverse audiences. On September 23rd, he will be honored for 27 years of service as the Executive Director of Grand Performances. The mission of Grand Performances is to inspire community, celebrate diversity, and unite Los Angeles through free access to global performing arts. Every week throughout summer, multiple events are offered at the California Plaza Watercourt, featuring world-renowned musicians, dancers, poets and other artists from around the world.

Earlier this year Michael received Sidney R. Yates Award for outstanding advocacy from the Association for Performing Arts Presenters. Michael firmly believes that access to the arts is a right, not a privilege, and he has joined and often chaired the boards of numerous professional organizations, including the California Arts Council.

Michael Alexander is renowned for a number of firsts:

He was the Aman Folk Ensemble’s first employee of this otherwise all-volunteer ensemble that performed widely and lasted for decades

In his role as the Director of Performing Arts for the City of Los Angeles, Michael secured the Western Arts Alliances’ first grant to enable scholarships to LA artists and presenters serving marginalized communities.

During his tenure with the City, he created a festival support program that resulted in the City’s first Deaf Arts Festival.

At the upcoming gala on September 23rd, to represent Fela as authentically as possible,  Sahr Ngaujah who portrayed Fela on Broadway, and Ethio Cali will provide the musical backdrop for this annual benefit concert.

On this week’s Experience Talks, Michael talks about Grand Performances, the gala, and how the arts play a vital role in a world of challenges.

JULIE CARMEN HOFFMAN is a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), and a Clinical Professor LMU YTRx Yoga Therapy for Mental Health at Venice Family Clinic. She will discuss an innovative advanced clinical practicum starting September 26th in conjunction with the Venice Family Clinic Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, through Loyola Marymount’s Yoga Studies program. Learn more at, and see a video entitled, “Yoga Therapy for Mental Health,” here.


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News from Magnolia @ Highland: “Magnolia Centerpieces” Community Cup Entry

The Artists’ Round Table Community Cup Art Entry:Magnolia Centerpieces
(polymer clay flowers, fabric vases)

The EngAGE Community Cup is this Saturday, September 16th, at Cerritos Park East!

Members of The Artists’ Round Table at The Magnolia @ Highland in San Bernardino, CA, always get excited about competing in the annual EngAGE Community Cup. They put a lot of thought, time, and effort into the big project they decide on every year. This year, the group wanted to make sure they could display their Community Cup project in their own community room long after the big event was over. So, they set out to make these very special centerpieces to display on each of the nine tables in the room.

Back in January, they started making vases out of plastic soda bottles, newspaper, and fabric. As soon as they were done with the vases, they got started on making hundreds of petals and leaves using polymer clay — a painstaking, delicate process that took months to complete. Putting the magnolia flowers together was difficult, too, but they were excited to do it.

Ownership and pride in their work and the community they live in is what drives these residents to stick with such long, challenging projects. They always encourage each other, take plenty of pictures, and love getting the praise and recognition from their friends and neighbors along the way!

The Artists’ Round Table: Deborah Merriweather, Dolores Hayes, Edna Atlas, JoAnn Moore, Marjorie Melton, Marie Carter, Maxine Henderson, Rose Mary Shavers,Wilhelmina Evans

~ Alma Wright, Regional Program Director


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EngAGE in the NAMM Foundation Spotlight

The NAMM Foundation celebrates and promotes the intrinsic value of music making for people of all ages.

EngAGE is the grateful recipient of support from the NAMM Foundation. We also thank them for making us the focus of their monthly Spotlight feature on their website.

The NAMM Foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. Founded in 2006, The NAMM Foundation represents the generosity and philanthropy of the music products industry. A supporting organization of NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, the NAMM Foundation is funded through trade association activities and donations.


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News from Park Plaza: Timeslips Storytelling + Resident Spotlight

“Fisticuffs break out at Park Plaza!!”

Not really! But this was the headline from Sarah Jacobus, the leader of the Timeslips Group along with Tanya Kutukdjian, Programs Assistant for Park Plaza Senior Apartments in North Hollywood, CA.


Sarah explained: “Eager storytellers were vying for position at the storytelling station and two women were arguing good-naturedly because one was given more time to tell her story than another. Good signs, all!”

Sarah continued: “There were a number of people hanging out in the community room in the afternoon. Time permitted only five to tell stories, but with more time, there would definitely have been more. Tanya and I are both encouraged that this process seems to be gathering steam.”

[Instructor Sarah Jacobus is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in creative writing. She is committed to the practice of creative engagement as a tool for meaningful self-expression and community building. She was trained and certified by TimeSlips founder Anne Basting, Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Timeslips, an organization that opens storytelling to everyone by replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.]

Resident Spotlight

Resident Spotlight from Tanya, pictured here with Gohar

This month’s Resident Spotlight is on one of our regular storytelling participants, Gohar. Tanya reports:

Gohar is a sweet and positive woman who is always happy to be around her friends and meet new people. She was the brave resident that took the first step towards participating in our new Storytelling group. Gohar took on the new adventure with a positive attitude and she inspired others to just go for it as well!

Looking at Gohar, always happy, you would never imagine the struggles she overcame as a child. Gohar told us stories about how there were days when they didn’t have a full meal to eat, but that never stopped her from being a happy and humorous child. She always found the positive in things and never gave up hope. These characteristics, along with her talent in sewing, gave her the opportunity to start working in a factory and help support her family at a very young age.

I never knew all the challenges she overcame but I loved hearing her tell stories of her victories. When Gohar speaks, she is so animated and full of  life, sometimes recalling mischievous moments and laughing while telling us about it. Other times, she goes to a darker place and her smile diminishes, but only for a moment, as she beams with pride in ending her stories of strife with victory.

Gohar continues to be a regular participant in our Bingo, ESL and Storytelling groups. She never runs out of wonderful stories to share. When she is not telling stories or playing bingo and learning English, you can spot Gohar at one of our Karaoke or dance events, grooving to the music and socializing with that sweet smile.”

~ Elizabeth Sampson, Regional Program Director


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News from Long Beach Senior Arts Colony: “The ABCs of Me” Book Project

The Art Makers at LBSAC in Long Beach, CA, are beginning a bookmaking project that is a poetic scrapbook of associations. The book opens with an “I am” poem that is a self-reflection of emotions and experiences. It is a rather abstract concept, so a few of the students are still thinking/working on it. This is perfect because they are considering how they wish to express their identity. The basic structure of the book is based on its title, “The ABCs of Me.” The artists are going through each letter of the alphabet and a word is chosen, then depicted via a different medium. “A” used watercolors and “B” will be a relief print. “C” will be a collage, and the process will continue through a variety of art forms. Once they have depicted all the letters, the artists will go back in with more poetry to describe the letter and imagery.

~ Helene Weinberg, Program Director


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