APTOS — The public is invited to join the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County’s 50th Anniversary Birthday Celebration on July 29 at the Sesnon House, 6500 Soquel Drive in Aptos, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. 

Tickets are now on sale for the event and space is limited.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our supporters and the community at large to come together in celebration of 50 years of volunteerism in Santa Cruz County,” said Volunteer Center Executive Director Karen Delaney. 

The Volunteer Center opened its doors in 1967 when Marian McBee, Kathryn Merriam and Margaret Schaeffer, three local social workers inspired by their passion for helping others, set up shop at a loaned office space in downtown Santa Cruz. They set out to develop volunteer programs that would lift up residents in need. 

Within a year, they hired a staff member and developed a mentoring program for boys in need of male role models, a tutoring program for adults who were unable to speak English, a jail visitation program, and two programs addressing the needs of home-bound seniors.

What started as a few volunteers has now grown into four facilities county-wide, 16 programs, more than 12,500 volunteers who annually provide services to 9,000 local people, and partnerships with 500-plus nonprofit, school and public partners.

“Together, our founders launched a powerful movement of local people working together to solve local problems. In our 50-year history more than 200,000 people have stepped through our doors with a desire to transform our community for good,” Delaney said. “Over the last 50 years the Volunteer Center has recognized a steady growth in volunteerism in Santa Cruz County, regardless of political or financial climate, individuals have found a way to remain engaged in their communities.”

Santa Cruz County volunteers are part of a national movement of more than 62 million individuals who annually step up to volunteer in their local communities. 

“Dedicated volunteers are the backbone of so many communities across the country. As the executive director of the Volunteer Center for over 30 years, I feel so fortunate that I have had the opportunity to witness acts of kindness carried out by everyday people nearly every day of my job,” Delaney said. “I am excited to celebrate, share memories, and honor the legacy of the thousands of local volunteers who are part of this movement at our upcoming birthday bash.”

Attendees can expect summer barbecue, drinks, dessert, live music, an auction, raffle prizes, service projects and more. 

“We have planned a fun and festive summer gathering with activities for all ages. If a volunteer has made a difference in your life in the last 50 years we invite you to come raise a glass with us,” Delaney said. 

Tickets are $40 per person or $120 for a family of four. Individuals are asked to purchase tickets or RSVP by July 21. 

Community members can visit the Volunteer Center website at www.scvolunteercenter.org or call 427-5070 to purchase tickets, learn more about the party, related events or opportunities to connect.

The Volunteer Center provides in-person, phone and electronic matching services to connect individuals with the fit for their time, skill and interest.

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