Ellen L. Albertoni is the executive director the Solvang Senior Center.

Hometown: Soledad

Family: Son Drew Barker of Hollister; mother Barbara Albertoni of Solvang; sisters Nancy Wirz of Hollister and Jan Clevenger of Solvang; and brother Joe Albertoni of Pearl City, Hawaii.

 Favorite movies: “Wizard of Oz” and “Hostiles”

Favorite book/author: “House of Sand and Fog,” by Andre Dubus III; “Lincoln In The Bardo,” by George Saunders; and anything regarding anthropology or women’s studies.

Favorite music/musician: Jazz; John Coltrane, Charles Lloyd, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Nina Simone.

Hobbies: Designing and repurposing jewelry, exploring the landscape, reading

Your bio in one paragraph: I was born in raised in the Salinas Valley, South Monterey County, on a dairy farm outside of Soledad. After graduating from Notre Dame High School in the big city of Salinas, I did a short stint at Cal Poly before moving back to the valley and attended cosmetology school (1981). I got married, raised a little family, worked hard, eventually bought a salon and eventually sold it. In between, there were a number of years of traveling back and forth to Tucson and cultivating my love for archaeology and anthropology. After too many years in a salon, I sold it and went back to school, enrolling in the Archaeological Technology Program at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Upon graduation, I worked with a CRM firm in the Salinas Valley and began to create jewelry from repurposed materials. I also became involved with Mission San Antonio de Padua and spent many hours assisting in their museum, helping with fundraising, wrangling herds of fourth-graders and tourists, and their retreat center .And now I am here.

How I believe I have made an impact in the SYV: Although I have only been in the valley for three years, I think that it became “my home” quite naturally. When I was offered the opportunity to become part of the Senior Center family, I reflected on the good fortune we had in our family of being raised with our grandparents — our extended family — next door. They were a part of our everyday life and I’ve tried to approach my days with that experience in mind. The center is a place of welcome, of friendship, health and vibrant fellowship. We see the difference that we make in lives every day. The programs we have to offer have expanded, as well as our membership. The connections that we have built with other valley agencies help us to ensure that folks’ needs, in every way, will be well taken care of. I feel honored to have been given this opportunity. (And thank you, Willi Campbell, for your inspiration).

Pet Peeves: Weak coffee

Road to the Santa Ynez Valley: A wonderful ride which began years ago when I would come down to help my sister and brother-in-law, Jan and Norm Clevenger, with their annual Rotary Fundraiser. Little did I know that I would end up here three years ago. Change has been good.

Favorite local place: Roaming the hills and valleys. They are divine.