Shy and unassuming, Rosalia Della can't understand what all the fussis about.
Helping people is just second nature to her. Being selected for President Bush's 1,000 Points of Light program was a total surprise.
"I couldn't believe it," she said.
The 74-year-old Ventnor resident, who has spent more than 10 years as a volunteer in the county Department of Aging's Life Enrichment Program, recently returned froma three-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Orlando, where she attended a special ceremony that included a close-up look at President and Mrs. Bush.
"I had such a wonderful time visiting EpcotCenter, MGM and the Magic Kingdom," Della said. "Never in my life have I received such hospitality and generosity. I was only one of 1,200 people at that ceremony, and I met so many other people who did more important things than I did."
Inspired by a pamphlet about the Life Enrichment Program she picked up at the Pascal Center 11 years ago, she began volunteering her time to visit patients in county nursing homes. A recent retiree with hours to spare, the program appealed to her.
Over the years, she has visited many patients, mainly at Maryland Manor Nursing Home, and has developed an especially close relationship with one, Margaret Grahe.
"I just happened to be visitingwhen she first arrived at Maryland Manor," Della explained. "Over the years, our friendship has deepened to where we're adopted mother and daughter."
Unaccustomed to the limelight, Della thinks her 1,000volunteer hours really aren't all that special.
"I know lots of people who would like to become involved but just cannot, because of circumstances in their life," she said. "I have my health and can drive, so I try to do what I can while I can."
After talking with thisshy but spry senior, the old phrase about lighting a candle or cursing the darkness came to mind. That darkness is banished by people like Rosalia Della.
The county Department of Aging has several programs that can bring a little light into your life -- and someone else's.
To get more details, call 222-6825.
The Riviera Beach Branch Library will celebrate its 20th anniversary at 7 p.m. Tuesday with an evening of special entertainment for the entire family.
AdamMazurek from the Linthicum branch and Rich Filkins from the Crofton branch will provide storytelling for young and old. Longtime patrons at Riviera Beach will remember Mazurek from his days as branch manager. Also featured will be Gale Crigger from the North County branch, an accomplished singer-songwriter.
Memorabilia from the library's 20-year history and best sellers of 1971 will be on display. "We have assembled a scrapbook about our branch and have many old pictures showing the before, during and after phases of the original constructionof the building back in 1971," spokeswoman Jill Hagen said.
Pasadena memorabilia collected and assembled by Emma Schramm also will be on view.
The first Riviera Beach branch opened in 1963, in a rented store along Fort Smallwood Road. It soon outgrew its quarters; the current building, at the corner of Fort Smallwood and Duvall Highway,opened its doors Aug. 1, 1971.
With approximately 60,000 items inits collection, the branch boasts a whopping 25,000 checkouts a month. Country library spokesman Diane Rey said Riviera Beach's lending rate makes it one of the busiest community branches in the library system.
The county Department of Recreation and Parks has openings in its before- and after-school day-care program for children at High Point Elementary School on Duvall Highway.
Interested parents can stop by the day-care center in the gym before or after school or call area coordinator Bob Brandenburger at 222-3538 for more details.
Gibson Island Country School invites you to its annual Market Fest, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow on the school grounds at the end of Mountain Road.
GICS spokesman Susan Morrisey said a day of fun for the whole family is being planned.
For the kiddies, a wideassortment of inexpensive games (in the 25- to 75-cent range) will be set up outside the school. Inside, a Treasure Room will be set up for bargain hunters to shop to their heart's delight. Gardeners can purchase an assortment of spring flowering bulbs that will be on sale.
For hungry visitors, a menu of pit beef, homemade clam chowder, hot dogs and soda will be available.
Proceeds from the event will benefit various programs at the school.
Northeast High School will hold a Principal's Forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Principals from all schools whose pupils eventually wind up at Northeast will present an overall view of the feeder system and answer general questions.
Also attending the forum will be John Hammond, assistant principal from the Center for Applied Technology-North, who will answer questionsabout vo-tech courses offered at his school.
The community is invited to attend.
* Sgt. Daniel Lewis, a recruiter from the U.S. Army, will bring a special multimedia program to students at Northeast on Thursday.