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Seniors Night Out brings community together
The Lathrop Squares dance club members go through the moves with dinner guests at the Manteca Senior Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO

It was a complete pork dinner for the senior citizen community Friday night at just $3 a plate at what is being called “Seniors Night Out.”

It was a plan to give back to members of the “greatest generation” who might think they go unnoticed by a woman who misses her grandparents greatly.

The event was the brainchild of Debbie Schickert who asked the support of the Manteca Senior Center as well as elementary and high school students. She got the support she asked for and even more in her effort to show grandparents in the community that they are really appreciated.

As many as 200 seniors attended the event that she hopes will become a monthly activity with the support of the business community. Some came from as far as Ripon and Turlock.

The menu included pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, vegetable, green salad, homemade apple sauce, coffee, iced tea, a beverage and dessert.

It was not just a dinner but it came with square dancing entertainment as well.  Steve Riley of the Lathrop Squares arranged for the square dancing entertainment and the instruction that followed after the dinner.

Casey Parker of the Manteca Trailblazers called for the dancers. There were two 10-minute dances followed by two 15 to 20 minutes of instruction and interactive dancing.  There was a multi-generational group as well with senior dancing with young students.

Schickert enlisted her family members including her four-and five-year-old children in addition to her older son who is in leadership class at Manteca High School. She brought her parents into the fold as well as her husband’s parents to help.

Other leadership class students along with elementary students also added to the list of volunteers who made the night a success. John Deroos, Manteca High dean of activities and leadership director, arranged for many of the student volunteers.

“We had fun in the kitchen with the students taking lots of pictures,” Schickert said.  “All the volunteers took a big picture together after the event. 

There were lots of hugs, lots of smiles and lots of appreciation for each other.”

She added that our seniors paved the way for us and made our community what it is today.  “Our children are our future — this was our opportunity to honor our seniors and give back in a way that shows we appreciate them,” she said.

“This was also an opportunity to instill in our children the sense of service and respect for the people that made our community what it is today.  It really was an amazing experience and I was so proud to be a part of it,” she said.

Schickert said she lost her grandparents just a few years back saying she misses them a lot.  “So this night was for me as much as it was for them,” she added.