Senior Awards return for fifth year

Nominate volunteers by Sept. 1

Having been a musician, a librarian and a financial officer for a major university press, Tina Olton, now 69, was seeking in 2002 to "reinvent herself in retirement."

As a tribute to her parents, she wanted to do something for seniors and joined Senior Peer Counseling, a program offered by Contra Costa County Health Services that trains volunteers 55 and older to use their life experience and skills to provide emotional support to other seniors. She now has 20 active clients at a time that she helps with their legal problems. She also was instrumental in founding the Elder Court Support Program.

Tom Twist, 75, has been delivering Meals on Wheels for more than 10 years to the senior community. He also works on its annual Crab Dinner fundraiser, and is a spokesman for Senior Outreach Services as well as its treasurer. Plus he's a docent at Blackhawk Museum, spends half a day a week volunteering at the sheriff's station in Alamo, and another half a day helping at Kaiser Medical Center.

These giving folks and dozens more, 55 and older, were nominated for last year's Senior Volunteer Awards, presented by the Culture to Culture Foundation of Alamo. Now the group is looking for nominees who have served others in Contra Costa County for this year's fifth annual awards. Winners will receive $250, and everyone will be invited to enjoy an awards ceremony.

"Some nominators have expressed a desire to nominate a volunteer team, so this year we will accept nominations for volunteer teams as well as individual nominations," said Chia-Chia Chien, founder of Culture to Culture. "By spotlighting these seniors, Culture to Culture Foundation hopes to inspire others to share their time and talents."

Nominations must be emailed to by Sept. 1:

* Each nominator can only submit one nomination

* The nominee must be nominated by another individual

* Nominator must describe the individual nominee's or team nominee's volunteer activities in 500 words or less

* The write-up must include the nominees' age(s), address, telephone, nature of the volunteer work in terms of length, hours, its significance and impact

* Nominator must include his or her contact information

The winners will be announced at the award ceremony, from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, at Shadelands Art Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.


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