By Isiah REYES
The non-profit organization ASTER – Assisting Seniors through Enhanced Resources – is making plans that will benefit older adults and their families in the foothill communities this upcoming year.
“The purpose [of ASTER] is to find as many resources that are available to seniors and their caregivers,” said Robbyn Battles, president and one of the original founders of ASTER. “We really seek out all of the different events, classes and information that are available for our seniors and we post them on our ASTER calendar.”
ASTER has been around for four years. Among plans being made by organizers for the new year is a quarterly speaker series that will include a luncheon at little to no cost to seniors.
Battles is a lifelong resident of the Crescenta Valley, and ASTER is one of her passions.
“Another thing that we [plan to do] is co-sponsor with other senior presentations,” Battles said. “We’re able to reach out to a larger group of seniors so they can know where to get the information they need.”
Jack Geer, 71, volunteers his time as an ASTER board member and is also a YMCA volunteer on the Senior Advisory Council.
“We are interested in getting the seniors aware of the organizations that are in the foothills such as the Verdugo Hills Hospital and the Adventist Goodwill Program that provide them with information about health benefits, insurance and other needs that a senior may have,” Geer said.
ASTER is also working with faith-based organizations because churches can also give care to seniors.
Geer said the organization’s board was reformed after being dormant for a year. Currently, the calendar is still being worked on and no events have been finalized.
A longtime resident of the foothills and board member of ASTER, Kathy Rust is an advocate and a participant in the Caregiver Action Network, a family caregiver organization. It works to improve the quality of life for people with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease or the frailties of older age.
“It’s just nice that we reach out and let this greatest generation know that we regard them and we are responsive to their needs in a proactive way,” Rust said. “And ASTER has been one of those ways to bring people together.”
Rust has worked in Washington, DC to help forge legislation to protect and help seniors and their caregivers. She has high praise for ASTER.
“You have a local effort by local people who are volunteering their time who just want to help the community and help this great group of seniors that are in our area to make sure they are informed,” Rust said.
For more information on the ASTER program, visit
www.theaster.org. They can also be reached at