Riford Center promises a grand time for supporters

The Riford Center is hosting its second annual Rockin’ at the Riford community open house and fund-raiser on May 18 from noon to 4 p.m.

The Center, located at 6811 La Jolla Blvd., has spent the past year developing a presence as La Jolla’s only community adult center.

The Friends of Riford Center took over operations last October when lack of funding threatened to shut down the facility.

“Last year, from the event, we raised about $40,000,” said Jim Walker, chairman. “Over the year, we raised about $100,000, and it was our nest egg to keep the place open.”

Like any privately funded organization, supported solely be community contributions, grants, membership and activity fees, fund-raising is an ongoing effort.

This year’s Rockin’ at the Riford party hopes to achieve two main goals: successfully launching its campaign to raise $100,000 for innovation and renovation, and attracting new members by introducing them to the Center’s programs.

Admission is $10. The event will feature live entertainment, refreshments provided by the French Gourmet, chair massages, magic, tarot cards, palm readings and more.

A silent auction and raffle will be held to raise money for Center programs and capital improvements. Valet parking will be available.

The Riford Center offers health and fitness activities, social and recreational programs, educational speakers and lecturers, and individualized services such as health insurance counseling, legal aid and referrals to other resources.

Some of the most popular activities include yoga and Tai Chi, two book clubs, conversational French, bridge and Scrabble tournaments.

Director Sarah Peters said the Center has a number of new groups and programs in the works: ballroom dance lessons, “brain” games to strengthen and preserve memory and outings to local attractions.

Membership currently stands at 450, but the group hopes to increase that to 1,000.

“We really want to be central to the community, and the only way to do that is to bring people in,” Walker said.