Albanian Senior Program Opens at Bronx House

Bronx House continues to expand their highly-regarded senior center after launching a new Albanian-American program.

After years of trying to find ways of developing a program for Albanian-American population of Pelham Parkway, community activist Mark Jonaj was able to officially open the doors of Bronx House on 990 Pelham Parkway South for the new “Albanian Senior Program at Bronx House.”

Although the Bronx House senior programs already consisted of members of Albanian-Americans from local communities, the new program was developed to further engage the strong population of Albanian-Americans in a social meeting place twice a week.

The only thing preventing the launch of this program was funding, however, Councilman Jimmy Vacca came to the rescue and was able to allocate money from the City Council to secure the opening of the new program, which officially launched on Monday, May 2.

“It’s very important that we provide programs for all of our seniors in our communities,” Vacca said. “Mark Jonaj had come to me and asked if there was any way we can start something for the Albanian seniors in the Bronx and we were able to find funding to create this wonderful program. Many people may not know that this program is here right now, but they will soon find out.”

Although members of the Albanian Senior Program are welcomed to join any other senior activities at Bronx House Monday through Friday, their particular program will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Approximately 30 Albanian seniors kicked-off the program.

Included in the program will be daily lunch, as well as a full schedule of activities and events, and a monthly trip that ranges from walking tours, museum visits and Broadway-like shows.

Jonaj, whose mother and grandparents were present for the launch, is thrilled to finally have a place for the Albanian seniors to meet and congregate with friends.

“For a while we were hoping to get this together for the Albanian seniors in our community,” Jonaj said. “For seniors in general, many of them do not often want to leave their homes, especially in the winter, but they should know that they always have a place to go and enjoy themselves at Bronx House. Now those options have expanded and we know this new addition will be great.”

Corina Pintor, director of senior services at Bronx House, was first contacted by Jonaj about adding the program. After funding was allocated by Vacca, Bronx House added it to the center’s already successful senior programs.

“Our daily senior activities already consist of a few hundred seniors from local communities,” Pintor said. “We were happy to find out that we would be adding the Albanian senior program here at Bronx House and Mark and Councilman Vacca did a great job in executing it.”

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