The Sebco Senior Center was covered in brilliant gold and silver decorations as three Bronx seniors reached the incredible landmark of their 100th birthdays.
Antonia Bodoa, Esmeralda Rivera, and Manuel Rodriguez were honored on Friday, August 29 at the senior center on 1291 Lafayette in commemoration of the milestone.
“We went through the roster and said this is something special, we have to do something,” explained building coordinator Nilda Pons. “You always hear about it in the news but you never think you’ll meet or know anyone who makes it to 100 and we have three.”
Coordinators and staff for the center have been planning this event for about two months, including contacting and gathering the family members of the persons being honored.
“We made favors for them ourselves and prepared the room for two days,” stated Pons, who has been working there since the center first opened in 1990.
For health reasons Bodoa was unable to make it down to the party room, but staff members and friends delivered gifts and treats to her room, bringing the celebration to her.
Pons presented her with a bouquet of flowers along with her gifts. “She loves to move and dance, and roses; that’s her favorite flower,” Pons said.
Rivera, meanwhile, was dancing with granddaughter, Antonia Davilla, who stated, “its great what they did for her,” as she enjoyed the celebration.
Rivera’s family extends to four children, 9 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, and 11 great great grandchildren, and includes Annabel Palma, a councilwoman for District 18.
Rivera’s caretakers, Lauren Varez and Connie Romini, explained what a lively spirit the woman has and how she stays active through the center’s activities.
“She loves to dance and when they put on meringue she needs to dance,” said Romini, of Rivera, who discussed some of the reasons why she has lived for so long.
Among the nutrition classes, arts and crafts events, sewing instructions, and field trips offered at the center, the real reason Rivera is still extremely active at 100 years of age is “My faith in God,” she said, adding,
Manuel Rodriquez declined to attend the event due to being too tuckered out after a party the night before.