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Santa Barbara, CA– Heidi Holly, Executive Director of the Friendship Adult Day Care Center in Santa Barbara for over 38 years is planning to retire in July.  The adult day program provides services for aging and dependent adults and respite for their caregivers. Friendship Center brings social activities to enhance seniors’ quality of life, promote self-esteem, and increase their ability to continue living at home.  

Holly graduated with a BA Degree from UCSB in Behavioral Sciences. In addition, she attended Antioch University and studied Organizational Management. She is a certified teacher for California Community Colleges and has taught through the Adaptive Program of Santa Barbara City College. She is a certified California administrator of residential care facilities for the elderly. Currently she serves on the Wellness and End of Life Committee, and the Adult and Aging Network. Heidi has served on many Boards and has been a presenter at the local, state, and national level on issues pertaining to the aging population. 

Heidi Holly | Credit: Courtesy

“It has truly been an honor to serve our elder generation and I am eternally grateful to learn from their pearls of wisdom, ” said Holly. “I never imagined that, when I began working at Friendship Center, how much my life would change, and how I would be inspired by a mission so compelling that I would spend the next 38 years there.” 

During her tenure, Holly innovated programs and activities including the GOLD (“Growing Old”) project whereby public/charter school children get together with our aging population to diminish ageism. Holly refers to this initiative as her “passion program.”  She also believes that, with her help, the nonprofit has created a “name” in the community so that people know to come to them when they have a need. Holly has also significantly grown the budget with strong community relationships and support. They have also strengthened programs for senior veterans. 

Friendship Center has also faced some significant and unpredictable challenges including the January 2018 debris flow and the COVID pandemic over the past few years. The organization managed to remain flexible in both instances and pivoted to provide services in other locations and in new and creative ways. 

When asked about her hope for the organization in the future, Holly expressed that, “My desire is that Friendship Center grows and flourishes and continues to have an abundance of funding from supporters to serve our seniors in need, and to provide much needed respite to our caregivers. I also am hopeful that someone will take over the leadership role of Friendship Center who has a passion for the mission with an eye toward serving unmet needs in our community. “ 

Those who are interested in the Friendship Center Executive Director position may view the job description Here.  


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