UCC-Related Angelus Plaza Activity Center Inspires Residents, Staff, and Visitors with Hope, Love, and More

The “Hope Wall” contained hopes written on clouds and placed on the wall.

At Angelus Plaza Senior Activity Center in Los Angeles — part of UCC-related Retirement Housing Foundation — staff, residents and visitors are used to words being put into action. The latest example of that is the center’s 2019 “Core Value of the Month” program, which kicked off in January with a focus on hope.

“In January, we posted a HOPE wall, where residents and community participants could place the hopes/goals for the new year on white paper clouds in a clear blue sky,” says Amber Johnson, center director. “We used hope as a theme for our monthly journal class, our weekly movies, and the first Core Values Class, led by a member of our team.”

Each month, a values-based theme is chosen around which to base programming. The given theme is related to community events, holiday and calendar activities, and serves as the inspiration for everything from newsletter feature stories to outings to classes. The new program was developed after a successful Thanksgiving values program last November.

Johnson says that the goal of the core value focus is to inspire personal growth, understanding, unity, and a peaceful community atmosphere throughout Angelus Plaza and in the local community. According to participants, the program is working.

“The program brings a heightened sense of community to our center,” says Luis G.  Joyce A. calls the Core Values program “stimulating and interesting … brings something new to our programs: a new way to learn.”

The February core value weaves the thread of love into all of the center’s activities.

This month’s theme, appropriately, is love. In addition to the journal class, the theme runs through the weekly movies, the Core Values Class, and a special African-American Heritage Festival at the Center’s third-floor library. The festival’s focus is on love for all humanity, honoring Black History Month, and lifting up the contributions of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Another highlight will be a Valentine’s Day Disco on Feb. 14.

Other themes in 2019 include Knowledge, Friendship, Respect, Joy, Gratitude, and Compassion, among others. A diverse set of activities will be incorporated into the monthly values, from visiting the Los Angeles County Arboretum to holding a Spring Flea Market. October’s focus will be  Balance, dovetailing with Mental Health Month and National Depression Screening Day Oct. 5. Serious observations throughout the year — like Women’s History Month and Veteran’s Day — will be interspersed with such creative activities as a spring concert, talent show, and ice cream social.

The Core Value of the Month program grew out of CHHSM-member Retirement Housing Foundation’s mission statement — providing housing options and services for older adults, low-income families, and persons with disabilities in an environment that enhances quality of life. Angelus Plaza is an affordable housing community, and its Activity Center is open to everyone, following RHF’s principal that each person is a loved child of God and is to be treated with respect and dignity.

In other words, the Core Values Program makes sure that there’s something for everyone. As Linda Y. puts it: “I love Angelus Plaza. The programs bring friends together.”

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