News Spring 2013

Denice Jones 1956 - 2013

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Denice Jones, the Director of Senior Center Programs after a long illness. For 29 years Denice had been a member of the Project FIND family, whose dedication and abilities only grew with the passage of time. Starting out as participant in an employment training program run by Project FIND in 1983, she graduated into her first job as an Administrative Assistant. Over the next 20 years she became, in succession, the Office Manager, the Director of the Hargrave Senior Center, the Director of the Woodstock Senior Center, and in 2008, the Director of Senior Center Programs, the perch from which she supervised the activities at all five of our centers. Along the way she mentored and inspired numerous staff members, befriended countless center participants and left an indelible mark on our agency. Possessed of a wide smile and an appreciation for the vicissitudes of human nature and professional comport that made her a natural leader and trusted voice. Denice was also the brains behind our advanced data collection systems for our center programs and a key shaper of our restructured senior center programs just this past year.

And that ain’t the half of it. She was a giant here, whose loss will be felt for a very long time.

A special memorial was organized.


Project FIND Thanksgiving

Traditional Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings were served to 200 NYC's poorest seniors. Project FIND has hosted this event for low-income and homeless seniors for 40 years. Executive Director David Gilcrist said, "Without a venue like this, many of our seniors would be spending the holiday alone." For some, this meal has become their holiday tradition. One participant said, "All my family is [out of state], and I hate to be alone on the holidays.


Coffeehouse Senior Center Relocation

The Coffeehouse program has served the Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea neighborhood since the early 1970’s – starting as a help desk in the Port Authority Bus Terminal where the elderly “sitters” congregated, growing to become a full service senior center with funding from the NYC Department for the Aging. 

For the past 30 years, the Coffeehouse has operated in a building near Times Square, at 551 Ninth Avenue, owned by Port Authority. Although this rent free ride on the Port Authority’s dime ended, we have been able to secure a new and even better home in the undercroft of the Holy Cross Church on West 42nd Street.

The build out of McCaffrey Hall has taken a year to transform the space into a fully handicap-accessible center with a commercial grade kitchen. Designed by Charles Lauster Architect, the space will allow for greater programmatic diversity and can physically accommodate a greater number of individuals.

This relocation was made possible by the contributions of many: the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The NYC Department for the Aging, Borough President Scott Stringer, Speaker Christine Quinn, private philanthropy, corporations, and numerous generous individuals. We are also grateful to Father Peter Colapietro of the Holy Cross Church for making this move and our continued connection to the elderly of this community possible.

Read more about our relocation story in DNAinfo.

Woodstock Seniors Dance on Broadway!

For four days in May, Project FIND Woodstock Senior Center Members got their chance to strut their stuff in the heart of Times Square!  The seniors, who are members of the intergenerational dance troupe “Dances for a Variable Population,” readied themselves for their big debut by rehearsing at the Woodstock Senior Center on a weekly basis for three months. 

The twenty four dancers, whose ages ranged from 20 to 90 (half of whom were seniors) stopped tourists, and even jaded New Yorkers in their tracks as they witnessed the troupe master beautifully choregraphed moves accompanied by contemporary and ecletic world music.

The performance ended with a dance party open to all where people of all ages, races and cultures joyfully shared together the common language of dance. What better way to reflect the power and meaning of the grounds they were on, commonly called “The Crossroads of the World.” 

Visit this site for photos and news clip of the event.

Getting Your Money’s Worth Interviews Executive Director David Gillcrist

Watch David discuss Project FIND’s work with Judith West on Getting Your Money’s Worth. In a 14-minute interview, David and Judith talk about senior centers, housing, and the lives of New York City's older adults.

The Daily News Tells the Coffeehouse Story!
And a better story could not be told. When the News reporter and photographer visited the Coffeehouse Senior Center, they engaged with the participants and were fascinated by their stories. They admired the resilience and hope exhibited by people who often must wrestle with dire conditions. As participant Frank Aosger states, "This place has kept me alive. I've outlived all of my family. I don't know how to cook. This is the best meal I get all day." And each year, Project FIND collectively serves over 215,000 meals that are distributed throughout our five senior centers. We are glad that more people will find out about our amazing participants as well as all the good work that is being done at Project FIND.
For more information, check out the article.

The New York Times Spotlights Hamilton House
More older New Yorkers want to keep living in the city these days and, as the New York Times explains in a recent article, there are a number of housing possibilities for seniors who love their city. Our own Hamilton House on West 73rd Street, a “handsome building with a crystal chandelier in its double-height lobby,” is held up as a model of supportive housing for seniors. The Times describes Elaine Habib and Jo Marchese as two happy Hamilton residents. Jo explains: “You’re independent. You’re in a beautiful neighborhood. You feel connected. What’s not to like?” Check out the article and see its fabulous photo of Elaine and Jo!

Apartment Beautiful – Redux

Competition was fierce as 25 residents of Hamiliton House embarked on a battle of style and domestic pride to see who would win the coveted Project FIND Apartment Beautiful contest.  

Prizes were awarded not only for the most beautiful apartment, but also the most the cleanest.  First place winners received $500; second place, $250; 3rd place $125.

Given one month to prepare their apartments for official viewing, the contestants swung into full action, demonstrating ingenuity and grit.  A panel of four judges, Martin Espinosa from Hargrave House, Elizabeth Cunningham, Director Property Management Woodstock Hotel, and two former winners of this contest Morag Mossawir of Hargrave House and Rose Longshore of the Woodstock Hotel reviewed before and after photographs and conducted on-site inspections of all short-listed entrants. 

And the winners are……….

Show of Shows 2011

Residents of The Woodstock Hotel and Hargrave House compete for prizes.

Clinton Senior Center is the focus of a CNN Report

CNN story posted on March 14, 2011, looks at the way state budget cuts could affect senior citizens in states from Texas to New York.  Clinton Senior Center is shown as an example of the importance of senior centers to the lives of older Americans. The terrific video that accompanies the story gets to the heart of daily life at Clinton. It includes clips of Tom Campo’s popular yoga class, features an interview with Executive Director David Gillcrist, and gives Clinton members the chance to talk directly to the camera about what the center means to them.

The Woodstock's Got Talent!

NIne Men, Two Dummies, One Dream. Who will prevail?

On July 8th, Project FIND held a Talent Show at the Woodstock Hotel. Nine participants, including six vocalists, one jazz drummer, a blues guitarist, and a ventriloquist with two dummies vied for one of the three cash prizes.   The performances ranged from the dazzling to the unique and were met with hearty applause from a full house. Joe Franklin, eminent radio and television personality, graced the competition with his presence.  A panel of judges and the audience were charged with selecting a winner.  The sampling below will give an indication as to how hard this decision was. 

MetLife Competition

In 2010, Hamilton House is one of just eight finalists in Met Life Foundation's prestigious nationwide competition to recognize superior green and service-enriched senior housing. We failed to make the final.

Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Hamilton House provides subsidized, supportive housing for seniors in 174 apartments and a busy senior center, serving nutritious meals and offering a wide array of healthy aging classes.   Hamilton House was recently refurbished to a high standard, incorporating many green energy saving features.

Fun with Chubby Checkers on NBC New York

Woodstock staff and senior center members join a select
group of elders to show the legendary Chubby Checker
a thing or two about how to twist.
click to view

Hamilton Latin Dancers featured on CBS TV Special

"Living Longer, Better" with Dana Tyler
click to view

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