What do you do if Ellen DeGeneres gives you a giant television? If you’re Alyson Stoner, you gift the gift to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The Disney Channel alum presented a 65-inch TLC Roku TV to the Center’s Senior Services department on September 11 along with a five-year subscription to Netflix.
“I truly don’t even know how to use a television remote or how to use Netflix,” Stoner tells LGBT News Now. “It was a complete surprise, and I thought, ‘How do I reconcile this with my commitment to living simply? The Center came to my mind instantly.”
Stoner received hugs from some seniors when she showed up at the Center’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Senior Center to gift the TV that will find a home at the Center’s 104-unit Triangle Square complex, the nation’s first affordable housing complex for LGBT seniors.
“I hope the residents know their quality of life and well-being are on people’s minds,” Stoner says. “The TV itself is just a TV. But the memories and the bonding and the relationships that can be built around watching your favorite programs together is what really matters.”
It was Stoner’s first visit to the Center since the April opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, the Center’s new intergenerational facility bringing together a multitude of youth and senior services in a unified setting spanning nearly one full city block.
“It’s extraordinary,” she says of the Campus. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope it sets an example for other centers around the world. The Center has been able to bridge generations and provide services in a very human way. You can feel the people and their lived experience. It’s a gift both ways.”
Stoner recently caused a sensation at the MTV Video Music Awards during a tribute to hip-hop pioneer Missy Elliott who was honored with MTV’s Vanguard Award. Stoner’s appearance with DeGeneres was a full circle moment: she last appeared on the show 17 years ago after her memorable performance in Elliott’s Work It music video.
Director of Senior Services Kiera Pollock says the giant screen will be especially appreciated during the popular karaoke nights at Triangle Square.
“This is just going to blow their minds because they are going to be able to do karaoke and actually be able to see all the words on the screen as they’re singing,” Pollock explains. “They’ll be able to watch all their movies together and really be able to enjoy high-definition television that they’ve never had before.”
“I think it’s all about heart and community and supporting each other and really creating the world that we want to live in,” Pollock says about Stoner’s generosity. “She embodies that.”