From left, that’s Adah Cruzen with Senior Center of West Seattle executive director Lyle Evans and social worker Holly McNeil. The occasion: A celebration honoring a big gift for the center, which relies on donations for most of its budget. Evans tells the story:
Last month the Center was approached by a member of the community who asked what the Center needed in order to continue and enhance operations. I provided a wish list, not knowing the impact that list would have. About three weeks later, Adah Cruzen invited me to her home for lunch.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Adah, she is a lovely, unassuming woman with a gigantic heart and a very sweet demeanor. Many in West Seattle know and love her. Many also knew her husband, Earl Cruzen, the “Father” of Murals of West Seattle and local community leader. Adah talked about how Earl cared so much about West Seattle and wanted to leave a legacy gift to ensure the Senior Center was taken care of.
Adah beamed when she talked about her love of the Ukulele group and how she loves eating in the Café. She asked me how she could best support the Center. “What’s at the top of your wish list?” she asked. We then discussed the importance of our Westside Friends outreach program that helps homebound elders, as well as the importance of good food to those who may have their single most nutritious meal of the day here at the Center. Additionally, we discussed support for our many health and wellness programs, infrastructure improvements, new computers for staff, as well as implementing a Point of Sale system to enhance existing services.
Our conversation included how vitally important it is to keep elders active in order for them to remain healthy, funding of the newsletter, and a commercial ice machine. We discussed how Hatten Hall needs improvement in order to bring more large groups into the Center, and how community is built one person at a time. This list was meant to be a partial list of items that the Center needs. I was overcome with emotion when Adah said she would fund everything we’d talked about with a legacy gift of $100,000!
We at the Center envisioned a day when we could expand physical space, programs, and outreach to welcome more of the people who need us the most. We want to become even more vibrant and more essential to those we serve, to do what we do better and grander. Earl and Adah Cruzen’s gift can help make that vision a reality. Thank you, Adah and Earl, for your most generous support! We appreciate it enormously!
Just two months ago, the mural-restoration project announced an identical gift from the Cruzens. Speaking of which, we’ll have an update on that a little later this evening!