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PG-GC-VanGarden Court residents welcome the center’s new Care-a-Van, a propane-powered, 11-passenger 2014 Ford Champion Crusader shuttle bus. (Garden Court photo)


By Flannery Hill for Garden Court | Published on 11.18.2013 2:53 p.m.

On Wednesday, Garden Court senior residents and staff will thank those who helped fund their new Care-a-Van — a propane-powered, 11-passenger 2014 Ford Champion Crusader shuttle bus.

Residents and invited guests will enjoy a lovely meal, christen the shuttle bus, and Rob Pearson, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, will say a few words of gratitude.

The Care-a-Van will have a positive effect on the lives of seniors as it helps keep residents healthy and engaged with the community. The green shuttle bus includes a lift, which allows residents with limited mobility to stay independent. The van offers access to doctors’ appointments, which in turn encourages residents to take preventive health measures, aiding Garden Court’s larger holistic health program.

“Transportation is essential to supporting the independence of our residents,” said Chris Tucker, Garden Court executive director. “The generosity of our donors helps residents take advantage of transportation for medical appointments, shopping, staying in touch with their faith communities and seeing their friends and family.”

Attendees representing major donors will include Janet Garufis of Montecito Bank & Trust, Ragan O’Reilly of the O’Reilly Family Foundation, Bhupindarpal Singh of Direct Relief, Terry Bartlett of Reetz, Fox and Bartlett, and Alyce and Bob Parsons of the Parsons Group.

The new passenger bus is entirely propane-powered. Propane is a fuel source, which is low-emission and domestic. With this knowledge, residents become environmentally conscious and environmental advocates in their community.

Transportation is key to encouraging involvement and engagement among residents at Garden Court. The Care-a-Van will also service other Housing Authority senior developments such as Presidio Springs and SHIFCO on the Mesa.

Many of Garden Court’s 97 seniors, age 62 or older, are longtime Santa Barbara area residents who worked all their lives serving  the Santa Barbara community as laborers, nurses, business owners and teachers. These residents are spending their golden years as an active part of the community they helped to shape and tend. Some residents have moved to Santa Barbara in more recent years to be closer to families who live here and to enjoy those relationships.

Garden Court, at 1116 De la Vina St., is dedicated to providing opportunities for residents to connect with the community by bringing in groups to engage with the residents at Garden Court. Residents also participate in the Santa Barbara community in other ways, such as volunteering and fundraising for local charities.


— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Garden Court.

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