Kiwanis Club Hears From LARSO Executive Director Bernadette Lauritzen

Bernadette Lauritzen spoke to the Kiwanis Club September 13. Photo Courtesy Kiwanis

Kiwanis Club

Bernadette Lauritzen, executive director of Los Alamos Retired & Senior Organization (LARSO) spoke at the Kiwanis meeting on September 13, looking back over the coronavirus crisis and recalling the impact it had on the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos and the White Rock Senior Center.

Lauritzen, a Los Alamos High School graduate, has had considerable experience in working with young people, but has found that working with senior citizens is very much the same.

“People of every age want to be heard,” she said.

The state ordered the Senior Centers to close down in February 2020 as the pandemic began to hit. It was during the 14 months of shutdown that the centers was busiest.

Lauritzen said the centers switched lunch service to a drive-through approach and kept serving meals to help those who needed them. They also did grocery shopping and picked up prescriptions and mail to help the elderly. They held drive-by birthday celebrations for volunteers and members who turned 100.

In January 2021, the center gave covid shots to around 300 people, and the staff has followed up with boosters.

The Senior Centers reopened in May 2021 and are still providing drive-through meals for those who want them. Some of the popular events of the past are reappearing. On November 19, for example, the “Festival of Trees” will return – welcoming back many devoted friends.