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Hundreds Crowd Great Hall for Senior Citizens Ball

June 1, 2007 — The Reading Rainbow Great Hall was packed with hundreds of elegant elders Thursday for the Senior Citizens Ball.
Black-and-white evening wear sported by many of the distinguished guests met black and white balloons, linen and bunting to form a crisp motif. After the expected remarks and announcements, Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights struck up the tunes, playing quietly through dinner and picking up the beat for dancing afterward. The annual ball was the grand finale of a month of brunches, lunches, demos and dances put on by the V.I. government to honor, entertain and educate older residents for National Senior Citizens Month.
“We have had at least 30 events for Senior Citizens Month between the three islands,” said Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch. “Events were sponsored by the Legislature, the Police, the governor and lieutentant governor at locations all over the territory. It’s been a full month. A tremendous amount of credit goes to the staff. It is not easy to pull off this many events in a month. Really, a handful of staff put an enormous effort into getting all of the events to come off smoothly.”
The schedule of activities and outings involved more than simply having parties, he said — they were crucial to health. “The more active you can keep people, the more healthy and happy they’ll be,” Finch said. “It’s very important for seniors and for all of us to socialize and get out and about. Isolation can lead to decline and early death.”
Assistant Commissioner Kim Gomez acted as mistress of ceremonies, welcoming everyone, telling a few jokes and keeping things flowing. Assistant Commissioner Michal Rhymer-Charles and Eva Williams, administrator of the Division of Senior Citizen’s Affairs, made a few brief remarks before dinner, stressing the importance of the community’s commitment to the territory’s elders.
“This month we’ve been trying in some small way to say 'thank you' to all you’ve done for us over the years,” Williams said. “Now let’s get ready for the next month, because we have activities planned for all year long.”
The activities extend well beyond the official month, Rhymer-Charles said.
“The theme this month was Making Choices for a Healthier Future,” Rhymer-Charles said. “Really, it doesn’t end this month, but goes from here on out. If we eat well and take care of ourselves, we can be healthy and happy when we get to our 90s, too.”
Delegate Donna M. Christensen attended the ball with her husband, Chris Christensen. Also in attendance were Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson and St. Croix Police Chief Winsbut McFarlande. Over the course of the month’s events, many government officials have appeared one or more times, but those three showed up again and again. Christensen arrived just in time after a day in planes and airports returning from a delegation trip to Taiwan.
Many of the month’s activities have been celebrated for a few years, and as many were first-time events. But the Senior Citizens Ball has a special spot as an annual tradition going back several decades, at least.
“I know the ball goes back many years, anyway,” Finch said. “When I was working for a non-profit in the early 1980s, it was already an established tradition.”
The ball has remained, though the scale has changed.
“We’ve always had a ball, as I recall,” said Assistant Human Services Administrator Cheryl Plaskett. “It used to be smaller, but as you see it’s really grown. It’s certainly been happening at least 30 years.”
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June 1, 2007 -- The Reading Rainbow Great Hall was packed with hundreds of elegant elders Thursday for the Senior Citizens Ball.
Black-and-white evening wear sported by many of the distinguished guests met black and white balloons, linen and bunting to form a crisp motif. After the expected remarks and announcements, Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights struck up the tunes, playing quietly through dinner and picking up the beat for dancing afterward. The annual ball was the grand finale of a month of brunches, lunches, demos and dances put on by the V.I. government to honor, entertain and educate older residents for National Senior Citizens Month.
“We have had at least 30 events for Senior Citizens Month between the three islands,” said Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch. “Events were sponsored by the Legislature, the Police, the governor and lieutentant governor at locations all over the territory. It’s been a full month. A tremendous amount of credit goes to the staff. It is not easy to pull off this many events in a month. Really, a handful of staff put an enormous effort into getting all of the events to come off smoothly.”
The schedule of activities and outings involved more than simply having parties, he said -- they were crucial to health. “The more active you can keep people, the more healthy and happy they’ll be,” Finch said. “It’s very important for seniors and for all of us to socialize and get out and about. Isolation can lead to decline and early death.”
Assistant Commissioner Kim Gomez acted as mistress of ceremonies, welcoming everyone, telling a few jokes and keeping things flowing. Assistant Commissioner Michal Rhymer-Charles and Eva Williams, administrator of the Division of Senior Citizen’s Affairs, made a few brief remarks before dinner, stressing the importance of the community’s commitment to the territory’s elders.
“This month we’ve been trying in some small way to say 'thank you' to all you’ve done for us over the years,” Williams said. “Now let’s get ready for the next month, because we have activities planned for all year long.”
The activities extend well beyond the official month, Rhymer-Charles said.
“The theme this month was Making Choices for a Healthier Future,” Rhymer-Charles said. “Really, it doesn’t end this month, but goes from here on out. If we eat well and take care of ourselves, we can be healthy and happy when we get to our 90s, too.”
Delegate Donna M. Christensen attended the ball with her husband, Chris Christensen. Also in attendance were Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson and St. Croix Police Chief Winsbut McFarlande. Over the course of the month’s events, many government officials have appeared one or more times, but those three showed up again and again. Christensen arrived just in time after a day in planes and airports returning from a delegation trip to Taiwan.
Many of the month’s activities have been celebrated for a few years, and as many were first-time events. But the Senior Citizens Ball has a special spot as an annual tradition going back several decades, at least.
“I know the ball goes back many years, anyway,” Finch said. “When I was working for a non-profit in the early 1980s, it was already an established tradition.”
The ball has remained, though the scale has changed.
“We’ve always had a ball, as I recall,” said Assistant Human Services Administrator Cheryl Plaskett. “It used to be smaller, but as you see it’s really grown. It’s certainly been happening at least 30 years.”
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.