At a large, happy gathering last Thursday, April 22, Aging in America honored hard-working volunteers from all of its different senior centers. The festivities included a catered lunch, dancing, and trophies for every single honoree. This was the event’s 20th year — a meaningful milestone.
“As funds continue to be reduced for not-for-profits,” said Judith Richburg, director of Aging in America Community Services, “we rely on our volunteers to keep coming through for us and helping out.” Richburg explained that many of the volunteers, though not all, are people that also live at the center where they do their vital community work.
Each honoree was vigorously excited for the upcoming events and initiatives happening at their own facility. “We’re gearing up for our first spring dance on May 15,” said Donald Daniels, president of the Advisory Board at Bay Eden Senior Center on East 229 Street, “Every one of these center has their own line dancers, with elaborate routines and costumes. It’s just so much fun to watch,” he beamed.
Rose Della Bovie, meanwhile, gets excited for a different kind of social event, one that might be more solitary. “We just came from Mt. Erie Lodge, and of course we did a lot of gambling,” said Bovie, who is the president of the Aging in America Senior Center.
“Then we talked, and we gambled again. And we went for nice walks together, and we gambled some more.”
Each center’s organization reps came up in large groups to accept small trophies that say “Volunteer Award 2010 – You’re the Best” and pose for a photograph. In addition to Bay Eden and Aging in America’s own senior center, the facilities honored included the Glebe Senior Center and Morningside House on Pelham Parkway.
Following the awards, a dj fired up the music and seniors took to the dance floor, whirling and twirling, some ladies decked out in silver sequins and tiaras.
As he looked on at the raucous mid-day party, Dr. William Smith, president and CEO of Aging in America said that he and the board of directors never tire of celebrating these volunteers and all that they do. “These people are amazing, they arrange trips for the seniors, prepare announcements, they often even write letters directly to senators and congressmen,” said Smith.
But some of the volunteers don’t feel the need to discuss all that; they have simpler interests. Arthur Childs, director of the Sue Ginsburg Senior Center, could only smile and say, “Over at our place, people are still talking about the Wii bowling tournament we did. A couple of those ladies, gee, they get really into it!”
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