There’s Gold in Alamo!

No digging is required to find gold at the Golden Crane Senior Center. 

Our mission is to promote wellness through programs for physical, mental, and social activities. Our family-friendly atmosphere will help 50+seniors to find their own gold!

Financially, GCSC is operated without government assistance or charity foundation grants. The staff, including teachers and program coordinators, are all volunteers.

When operations started in January 2008, partnering with the Alamo Women’s Club, the GCSC enhanced community services with senior wellness offerings. From 2008 to 2010 GCSC offered Monday classes. In 2011 Tuesdays were added.  In 2016 first Wednesdays were added for special events. Programs are based on Chinese and American cultures. All classes and activities are free of charge, with member annual fee of $50.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, group learning and enjoyment of physical and mental abilities stimulates personal growth. Activities include:  Tai Chi, tap dance, line dance, karaoke, hiking, camera club, chorus, yoga stretch, Chinese brush painting, calligraphy, soft pastel, Chinese cooking class, Mah-Jong, Yuan-Ji dance and walking-aerobic exercise. 

GCSC provides bi-monthly birthday celebrations, picnics and day trips, celebrations of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Chinese holidays.  Members participate in charitable, educational, and community service activities.

We provide ample parking and safe environment, at the Alamo Women’s Club,1401 Danville Boulevard, Alamo, CA 94507.

For information, contact Wendy Lee, 925-788-4936.

Please check our website for complete class and activity schedule: GoldenCrane.org.

 

 

A Day to be Remembered

A tsunami of love took place for nearly 700 East Bay children on December 15. The epicenter was in Oakland at the Cathedral of Christ the Light where children from schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties were treated to a day-long celebration and fiesta. The event was based on universal human values emerging from the story of the 16th century apparition in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The day was offered free by Francis in the Schools, a nonprofit group located in Walnut Creek. The program seeks to lift the hearts of children from families of modest means and send them home with lasting memories that will be a source of happiness and inspiration.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Featured

The Oakland program was built around the feast day celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, considered by many of Hispanic heritage to be “The Mother of the Americas.” Her shrine in Mexico City is the most visited pilgrimage site in the Western hemisphere. For indigenous people and the poor, she has been a symbol of hope, love, and compassion for nearly five centuries. Because she appeared in Mexico to a poor farmer, Juan Diego, her story was particularly meaningful to the children at the Oakland event, eighty percent of whom were Latino.

The children were greeted by dancers wearing elaborate feather headdresses and dressed in gold and white in the manner of Mexico’s indigenous people. As the children entered the cathedral, musicians wearing native costumes played guitar. Then each child was handed a single red rose by children from the Youth Chorale of the Meher Schools in Walnut Creek, after which each child could place their rose on a large cloth representing Our Lady of Guadalupe’s garment. In the story of her apparition, red roses play a major role.

Musical Drama and Fiesta Provided

The day began with an original musical play in which giant puppets ten-feet tall joined actors, dancers, and a narrator to tell the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The “take away” messages in the play were to have courage, do your best, not worry, and feel that all people are important and part of one human family.

Following the play, the children went by chartered bus to the Scottish Rite Temple. There they enjoyed a homemade lunch and delighted in playing games, dancing, and creating flower baskets of roses, dahlias, daisies, and tulips to take home to their families. And they were thrilled to have their faces painted as wolves, fairies, butterflies, and with emblems of the Golden State Warriors.

 For many of these children, this was their first experience of attending a live musical play, their first field trip, and their first experience of arranging fresh flowers.

Because many of the participating schools lacked the resources to take children on field trips, arrangements were made for charter buses to take them to and from the Oakland venues.

Universal Values Communicated

Although the event was staged at a Catholic cathedral and the story was grounded in Catholic lore, the messages of love, kindness, and compassion are universal and transcend any one religion. Francis in the Schools is a non-sectarian program in which people of all beliefs collaborate to touch the hearts of children through a cultural vehicle that is meaningful to them.

Francis in the Schools is staffed 100 percent by volunteers who believe that it is a privilege to be of service to these children. All programs are funded solely by donations, largely from the volunteers themselves. The program is aided by the generous help of local flower growers who donate thousands of fresh blooms for the children’s flower baskets. Local retailers donate ingredients for the delicious cookies and cupcakes that are baked and individually decorated and wrapped for each child to take home as a special “gift treat” remembrance.

Francis in the Schools was founded by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner of Walnut Creek who also founded the award-winning White Pony Express Food Rescue program and the Free General Store serving Contra Costa County. This was the twenty-first program presented by Francis in the Schools since it started in 2011, bringing the number of children hosted to nearly 11,000 at programs held in San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

More volunteers are sought and welcomed in the Francis in the Schools program. Donations are tax deductible and are used 100 percent on behalf of the children. 

To learn how to volunteer or donate, please visit the website:  FrancisInTheSchools.org. For more information, contact Barbara Shaw Cohen at 212-531-2303, or by email at shawcohen@gmail.com

Cinco de Mayo Event

On May 5th—”Cinco de Mayo” in Spanish—nearly 1,000 children from Bay Area inner-city neighborhoods were treated to a day unlike any they had experienced before.

They were bussed to St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco where they were treated to an original musical drama about Junípero Serra, the 18th century Franciscan who founded many early California missions. The play, Always Forward, featured costumed actors, live choruses, and dancers. The children were surprised and excited to see 8-foot puppets representing Spanish soldiers enter down the aisles.

A lesson on Serra and native peoples

Research into Serra’s personal writings shows that he loved the native peoples. He wrote, “They have stolen my heart away. They are like members of my family.”6. French soldier puppet

When Serra became aware of the abusive way the Spanish soldiers treated the natives, he grew increasingly dismayed. The play dramatized how, in 1773, at the age of 60, Serra set out from Carmel for Mexico City—a journey of 2,000 miles—to protest this treatment. Once there, he presented demands to the Spanish viceroy on the natives’ behalf. The viceroy agreed to almost all of Serra’s proposals, thus creating the first significant body of laws governing early California. It has been referred to as Serra’s “bill of rights” for native Americans. It came 15 years before the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution.

After the play, the children were given a bountiful “fiesta” featuring lunch, serenades by troubadours, dancing, crafts, games, talks with the play’s characters, face painting, and fresh flowers to arrange and take home.

The origin of Cinco de Mayo

The issue of “bullying” found voice when children joined actors to enact the May 5, 1862, Battle of Puebla, which is why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated today. The children portrayed the Mexican citizen-soldiers who defeated the much larger and elite French army, represented by giant 8-foot puppets. But that “army” couldn’t overcome the children who locked arms and found strength chanting, “Doubt and fear make us small; love and courage make us tall!”

A little known history is that the French army had been planning to travel north and support Confederate troops against Union forces in the U.S. Civil War. Had they succeeded in this battle, their support of the Confederacy might have changed the outcome of the Civil War.2. Serra and spanish dancers

Purpose of the day

This novel Cinco de Mayo event was presented by Francis in the Schools, a nonprofit group based in Walnut Creek that offers this new form of nonsectarian education for children from underserved neighborhoods. The program was founded in 2011 by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner as a way to nourish feelings of love, kindness, courage, and brotherhood in these children. This was the 20th time the program has been presented, having been staged for a total of 10,000 children in cities including Oakland, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Over 350 volunteers work for months to prepare and stage each event. The entire day—from the bus rides through the play, lunch, activities, and flowers—is offered free to the children and participating schools.

Impact

After these Francis in the Schools events, children have written: “I will never forget this day.” . . . “This was the most wonderful day of my life.” . . . “I felt like a king, a cool king!”3. Giant puppets enter

One educator wrote: “It was a magical day of beauty and learning and is a potentially life-changing event in the lives of our children. You provided our community with a wonderful combination of spiritual, historical, and cultural activities that will have a lasting impact.”