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Hollin Hall's Big Thank-You

It started with everyone singing the song by the late Fred Rogers, "It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood." It ended with a skit that poked fun at their own dedication.

"It" was the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at Hollin Hall Senior Center last Friday. And "it" drew more than 100 individuals who give of their time and talents to contribute to the Center's myriad programs throughout the year.

"Why did I have everyone sing this song?" Julie B. Ellis, Senior Center director, asked the crowd rhetorically. "Because Rogers once said, ‘The bedrock of our being is good stuff.’ And, we have lots of good stuff here because of all of you."

The Center offers an average of 15 separate activities a day, all led by volunteers, according to Ellis. "We have such diverse offerings as the military history study group, dance lessons, exercise classes, bridge, two community service groups — one develops touch toys for seeing impaired and the other does needlework," she explained.

One of the most challenging classes is computer learning. It is taught by volunteer Robert Brubaker. "There are a lot of very knowledgeable people at this Center," Brubaker said. "They really keep me on my toes. One lady was with NASA in the launch program. She just didn't know the Windows system."

Ellis told the audience, "Hollin Hall has a way of making you look inside yourself. You volunteers make the staff and the 180 people who walk through our doors every day feel very special. You offer all of us ‘the good stuff’ and make each day in our neighborhood very beautiful."

IN ADDITION TO A luncheon catered by Pema's restaurant, with desserts from the Hollin Hall Pastry Shop, those in attendance were treated to a skit titled "Snow Daze" and music by Dale Jarrett. The farcical presentation focused on the demands of Center regulars during the period of the February blizzard.

With Ellis and her staff members Elaine Throm and Ann Fulkerson playing themselves, the skit portrayed their frustrations with answering telephone inquiries as to whether the Center was open or closed and what activities were on or canceled. Volunteers Bertie Dinkle, Sue O'Boyle and Connie Pinto were the protagonists attempting to exact the answers from a "hassled" Ellis and staff.

The event was sponsored by funds provided by the Center's Advisory Council. Aiding in the skit's production were students from West Potomac High School Key Club.