By Darren Bloch
The past 14 months have been difficult for our entire Greenwich House community, and particularly for neighbors who have relied on our senior services for meals, support, comradery, and enrichment. While I could not be prouder and more impressed with the services our team was able to provide from a distance, we know it isn’t the same as being together. We’re thrilled that we’ve recently been able to begin connecting with many of you in-person once again.
Beyond all the COVID-related efforts, and as some of you might know the City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA) agency recently invited senior service agencies (like Greenwich House) to submit proposals for the senior center sites and services they will consider supporting for the next three years.
As part of our proposal development, we turned to community members through town halls, Joint Advisory Council meetings and more informal conversations, to develop ideas. Our team also carefully thought through what we can do better to serve even more of our neighbors in new and different ways.
We want to share the ideas we have submitted to DFTA for their review and consideration:
- Continue to utilize all four of our current locations serving older adults— three as dedicated spaces for seniors (Center on the Square, Our Lady of Pompei, and Independence Plaza), and one location (27 Barrow) as a new site for intergenerational adult programming related to employment services, skills education, volunteerism, and a “business center” for members. All of these sites are within a short walk and we are confident our members will continue to receive the services and support they want and need, while we also work to bring new programming and services to the area.
- Add a new dedicated Older Adult Center in our district (as part the Westbeth campus).
- Expand mealtimes and healthy meal offerings, hours of operations into evenings and weekends, and add new programming options across our network of sites.
- For the first time provide an integrated transportation network that would link all of our service sites, as well as strengthen connections to other key partners and resources in our area (such as, Little Island Park, Tony Dapolito Rec Center, and the LGBT Community Center).
While we are excited about these big ideas, we also know our successes, as always, are the result of close community collaboration and support. That is why we have already spent hours in consultation with our members, staff and teams; and why we are committed to continuing that process over the months to come.
In addition to the broad strokes of our proposals we also included a number of other noteworthy approaches and suggestions offered by participants in our town hall and Advisory Council meetings that we are exploring:
- Hire a system wide coordinator to support volunteer and community service projects, which is a planned aspect of our proposal for 27 Barrow.
- Provide more afternoon physical activities and broader/intergenerational physical programming Including subsidized membership to local City recreation centers. Expand member-lead programming and group work, supported by Site Directors
- Expand of our “Theater Desk” with more staffing supports.
- Expand outdoor programming to places like Little Island and Governors Island.
- Create a new “business center” to help members with copies, scanning, shredding, etc.
- Improve and expand collaborations with GH Music, Theatre, and Pottery programs.
- Expand case assistance and legal service supports.
- Better integrate and coordinate with Greenwich House Senior Health and Consultation Clinic and GH’s new Wellness and Resiliency Center.
Though many of the improvements described above depend on support from the Department for the Aging, we are optimistic about these plans and approaches and we hope that you will start seeing some of these changes in the months ahead.
We also know that everyone will not be happy with every choice we are proposing to make, but we hope everyone feels heard and respected, and understands the broader community mission we are attempting to fulfill.
If you have specific questions, thoughts, or impressions, please contact us at email@example.com or at 212-777-3555.
Here’s to a brighter future!
—Judy, Laura and Darren