Tag Archives: Senior Center

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center finds temporary location after building damage


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center has found a temporary location after the building was damaged, but leaders still say there’s no place like home.

The center, which is operated by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, recently moved to the American Legion Post 118 at 89-02 91st Street after a building adjacent to the center’s location on Jamaica Avenue collapsed, damaging the roof and kitchen.

“We were concerned about the winter months with the snow and rain,” said Judith Kleve, vice president of Older Adult Services at Catholic Charities. “We are very relieved that the American Legion opened their doors to us.”

The center, which is funded by the city’s Department for the Aging, has more than 200 seniors enrolled and about 70 visit daily.

The staff prepares free meals every day and organizes exercise programs, including yoga and dancing, and educational lectures on topics such as arthritis and diabetes. During the temporary move the center is providing shuttles from the original location.

Despite joy for the temporary site, seniors want to return to the old building soon, because the American Legion building is too small, according to Kleve. But first, owners of the collapsed building, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, must fix it or the seniors can’t return.

“The situation is only going to get worst with the rain and snow coming,” State Senator Joe Addabbo said. “We need to get the owner to start fixing it now.”

The politician is working with other leaders to put pressure on the owners to repair the property. Addabbo met with officials from the Department of Buildings (DOB) this week to discuss the collapsed building, which has about a dozen violations and $11,000 in fines, according to the DOB.

The members of the center are hoping they can move back by next year.

“The seniors were very happy to know that the senior center was still open and that they had a safe site,” Kleve said. “But they still want to go home.”

The owners of 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC could not be reached for comment.

 

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Families devastated by cuts to Jamaica senior center


| mchan@queenscourier.com

FRIENDSHIP CENTERw

Some seniors in southeast Queens may soon lose their “friends.”

The Friendship Center — a program under the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) — relies heavily on funding from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to support its rehabilitative programs. However, due to fiscal constraints, the agency said it could no longer support the program after July 1.

“It’s devastating. I just can’t even believe that they did this,” said Beverly Collier, executive director of JSPOA.

The Jamaica-based senior center offers free services to mentally and physically frail elders, who commonly suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and depression. In addition to providing meals and socialization activities, the center hosts psychiatric clinics once a week.

Friendship’s mental health programs originally received $443,000 annually from the DOHMH, Collier said, but funds were cut in half last year. While the other half was restored through community support and discretionary funds, Collier said rallying to raise 100 percent of funding this year would be near impossible.

“It would be very difficult to maintain Friendship for this population without the department’s money. And sending this population to your average run-of-the-mill center is not an alternative because they are not able to participate and socialize with mainstream seniors,” Collier said.

The center — which has been in existence since 1979 — is home to the 65 to 75 seniors who use the center daily, according to the executive director.

The decision to strip the center’s funding has devastated caregivers like Brenda Lacey, whose 93-year-old mother has been going to the center for close to 14 years.

“This has been our lifeline. This is [my mother’s] livelihood,” Lacey said. “I feel terrible because this might be my mother’s demise. For her not to have those people in her life, it would be like losing a family member for her.”

Lacey said she plans to look into other mainstream regular senior centers, but fears her mother will not adjust well to the changes.

“She might not be able to cope. The people wouldn’t understand her like they do at Friendship,” she said. “I’m just praying. It really needs to stay open.”

Eleanor Williams said she’s nervous her 73-year-old husband, Harold, may revert back to depression if the center closes.

“Before Friendship, he was at the point where he was suicidal. He was at the hospital several times at months on end,” Williams said. “Once he got to Friendship, it really brought him totally out of his shell. If you had seen this man a year ago, you would say it wasn’t the same person. Right now, I don’t know where to go from here.”

Meanwhile, Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Ruben Wills said they are “aggressively working” to make sure Friendship keeps its doors open.

“This program is something we should be duplicating throughout the city — not cutting,” said Wills, whose grandmother used the center before her passing. “I don’t know what it is with these budget cuts, but the city seems to always target the most vulnerable population. It’s going too far at this point.”

Wills said he will be posting an online petition on his web site — www.rubenwills.com — later this week in addition to targeting different ways to secure funding.

“This is really unjust. This is really crazy,” he said.

St. John’s students makeover Astoria senior center


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.

Students from St. John’s University did much more than revitalize the recreational space at Catholic Charities Peter J. Dellamonica Senior Center – they rejuvenated the spirits of the facility’s visitors.

Ten undergraduates visited the senior center, located at 23-56 Broadway in Astoria, on September 24 as part of St. John’s University’s 10th Annual University Service Day. In addition to cleaning and performing general tasks, the students added vibrancy to the facility by painting the computer lab and its adjacent hallway red and white.

“I’m happy with the paint job, because in this economic crisis, this is something that I wouldn’t have been able to afford,” said Ayana Rush, project director of older adult services for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. “It proved to be a successful project. We livened up the place by adding some color, and the room now has a contemporary, SoHo feel. As a project director, I got to see a space actually mirror the warmth and caring of the programs we provide.”

Along with invigorating the center, the students also interacted with the seniors, creating a unique dynamic between youthful exuberance and seasoned wisdom.

“This is an intergenerational opportunity for seniors to be around young people, and for young people to learn about older adults,” Rush said. “It is a learning opportunity for both generations, and it is nice that they got to come together. The energy the students brought was refreshing, and they definitely energized the seniors.”

St. John’s students also visited eight other Catholic Charities sites across Brooklyn and Queens on September 24, including the Pete McGuiness Senior Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“It is important for us as a university to recognize those most in need,” said Angela Seegel, the service site coordinator for St. John’s University Service Day. “Our students recognize that those most in need are part of our community. It is our responsibility to serve them. The great thing about this day is that it happens at the beginning of our school year, so it becomes a spring board for the whole year. It tells the students that service to those most in need is a necessary and essential component of their education. Service day creates an environment that it is not us or them, it is we.”

The senior centers act as piazzas for older adults, and provide them with locations to participate in numerous multicultural activities, such as tai chi, yoga, salsa dancing and art classes.

Rush says that the collegians have already contacted her about volunteering additional time at the center, and she believes the experience proved mutually beneficial for the students and seniors.

“For my seniors, they got to see that older adults are not forgotten about, that people are concerned about them and more importantly, they got a makeover that’s well deserved,” she said. “Seniors also felt that the students were invested in their center, and that they cared about them enough to volunteer their time. The students reported feeling happy to provide the service, and they were happy to engage in conversations with the seniors. Overall it was a social investment for both my older adults and the students.”

Zumba Gold at Senior Center


| tcimino@queenscourier.com


Zumba Gold at senior center

HOWARD BEACH — “Zumba Gold” is coming to the Howard Beach Senior Center.

Sessions will be Wednesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., beginning September 21.

You must be a member of the senior center to attend the classes.

The Howard Beach Senior Center is located at 156-45 84th Street (entrance on 85th Street).

Any questions,call 718-738-8100.

Self defense for seniors

HOWARD BEACH — On Tuesday, September 20 at 9 a.m., the Howard Beach Senior Center will be conducting a self-defense class for seniors.

The class is sponsored by State Senator Joseph Addabbo. All seniors are invited.

The Howard Beach Senior Center is located at 156-45 84th Street (entrance on 85th Street).