Smith estimated that 1,000 seniors a day participate in activities offered 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Lunches are served to about 1,800 seniors at 11 senior lunch sites citywide. “These are one-stop centers for seniors. Many come just for lunch. They enjoy the meals and the companionship at the centers. They can take classes or get legal services and health information,” Smith said. “Our biggest challenge is just reaching out to all the corners of the senior community here. We’d like to raise our profile.” Gearing up for a graying population has long been on the radar of Valley Interfaith Council. The organization is aware of statistics showing that the number of Americans over 65 is expected to swell from 12.4 percent of the population in 2005 to 20 percent by 2030. Smith said it’s also important to note there are different stages of aging that senior centers try to acknowledge in the activities they offer. Younger seniors, for instance, enjoy the arranged sightseeing, casino and museum trips, while lunch and socialization becomes more important for older seniors. Some of the activities offered at the centers include yoga, tai chi, art, crochet, glee club, bingo and lectures on diverse subjects from reverse mortgages to diabetes. Comparative religion or other spiritual-themed lectures or classes haven’t been offered but will be considered in the future, Smith said. Sara Durazo, retired for 22 years from working with youth in Los Angeles, has been going almost daily to the Alicia Broadous-Duncan Multipurpose Senior Center in Pacoima for about 20 years. “I enjoy it. It keeps you busy and occupied. You know we (seniors) have done it all, taking care of our families and working,” said Durazo, who freely admitted to age 87. “It is our time now. We better use some of that time for us now.” Valley Interfaith Council has a transportation program for seniors who no longer drive or need a ride to do their errands, go to medical appointments and get to the senior centers. Accessing this program and the lunch program requires a call to one of the centers. After the appropriate service center is determined, an application is sent to the senior to be filled out by the senior and his or her doctor. It takes just a few days after the application has been returned to the center for services to be provided. “What we try to do is help the homebound seniors and allow them to function in the world,” said Lydia Ferguson, council transportation director. “Without this program, many seniors would be at home, doing nothing and going downhill. This is something they look forward to. Some seniors don’t get any visitors, so coming to the center is an uplift for them and it gets them motivated.” Valerie Duncan-Evans, nutrition director, learned from her grandfather, the Rev. Hillery T. Broadous, that “elders are to be loved, supported and respected.” “The meals are the draw at the centers, but I think seniors are most in need of companionship. They like being active,” Duncan-Evans said. “They are really excited about learning new things. We’re here to help anyone in need.” East Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 500 Colfax Ave., North Hollywood. Call (818) 766-5165. Mid Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 6514 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys. Call (818) 781-1101. Northeast Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 11300 Glenoaks Blvd., Pacoima. Call (818) 834-6100. 2007 Human Relations Awards dinner, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa receiving the “Steve Allen Spirit of the Valley Award,” beginning at 5:45 p.m. Thursday in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, 333 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City. Tickets: $200. Parking with validation $8, or valet $13. Call Valley Interfaith Council for required reservations by Tuesday at (818) 718-6460. www.vic-la.org.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CHATSWORTH – When the Valley Interfaith Council formally announces this year’s leadership awards on Thursday, it will spotlight local residents committed to improving the quality of life for others. But the nonprofit agency deserves praise itself for its efforts to help San Fernando Valley seniors enjoy themselves. “As people get older, they may become in need of socialization. Our programs keep them from feeling abandoned and alone,” said Cambria Smith, president of the 43-year-old agency. The city contracts with Valley Interfaith Council to operate senior centers in Pacoima, North Hollywood and Van Nuys.