JASA, a New York City-serving senior agency, celebrated over 500 senior volunteers at their Volunteer Recognition Day on November 10, 2016. The event focused on the hundreds of volunteers, all from varying senior centers throughout NYC, and their impressive work through the JASA’s Give Back to the Community Program, a program which focuses on helping seniors stay active through helping their community. Of these volunteers, those over the age of 90 were honored with a special ceremony, with 4 of the 37 honorees being over 100 years old.
“Giving back is not work, it’s a pleasure,” said two-time president and treasurer of her local JASA Senior Center, Frieda Selowsky, 93. As a Holocaust survivor, Selowsky finds JASA’s volunteer work to indispensable. “After living through the tragedies of my youth, I became stronger and committed to enjoying life everyday. I like getting to know other people, talking to them and making them happier.”JASA’s volunteers help numerous facilities and people through their work, including distributing toiletries to homeless shelters, knitting caps for cancer patients and preemies, running clothing and toy drives, teaching senior classes, meal delivery, fundraising, and so much more. Volunteers are all connected through the many JASA senior centers, which are located throughout Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Long Island. Each center serves as a multicultural community social hub, mixing wellness and entertainment with community and activities.
“Everyone was someone before they came to a senior center,” comments Elaine Rockoff, Director of Community Based Programs at JASA. “Everyone did something before. And just because now they’re no longer doing what they were doing before, they’re still vital individuals who have a lot to offer, and this gives them an opportunity to do that.”
The event, which took place at JASA’s Dreiser Senior Center in the Bronx, included festivities such as live music and entertainment, open floor dancing, and catered lunch. The celebration is a yearly affair, with more volunteers joining to program every day. Although senior oriented, the program allows older adults of any age to join the program. Those interested in Jasa’s volunteer programs can learn more at JASA.org or by calling their Volunteer Services Department at (212)-273-5353. To learn about JASA’s centers and other programs, such as their affordable housing, elder abuse prevention and intervention, mental health programs, home care, legal services, and much more, call (212)-273-5200 or visit JASA.org.