Summer 2019 Newsletter – Seniors


Summer for Seniors at Union Settlement

The goal of our program is to improve the health of seniors,” says Maria Alejandro, Director of Union Settlement’s Senior Services. “We want to keep seniors away from loneliness and depression, and get them out to enjoy the sunlight and the blessing of being alive!”

Over 300 seniors participate in Union Settlement’s summer programs, and the range of activities grows each year. In addition to the usual activities at our four Senior Centers (daily group meals and a variety of exercise activities, nutrition classes, health and wellness programs, computer classes, games, arts and cultural activities), the summer provides even more enrichment.

For example, seniors can participate in a variety of trips out of East Harlem, which are extremely popular. There are trips to the Botanical Gardens, the Greenmarket on 14th Street, FDR State Park in Westchester County, boat rides and even trips to city beaches.

“You have no idea what it means for someone who is in a wheelchair to be taken to the beach and to feel the sand and water between her toes,” explains Maria. “For the trip to FDR State Park, we take about 200 seniors in three buses and we have a full day of activities.”

A new senior program that recently began is a photography class, sponsored by the Josephine Herrick Project, which takes seniors from Jefferson Senior Center on a walking tour around East Harlem.  There are fourteen seniors enrolled in the class and each one is given his or her own camera to use. “They absolutely love it,” says Maria.

Twenty-five seniors are also able to attend a one-week camp in New Jersey. The camp, Star Lake Lodge, offers a wide range of activities, including boating, crafts, bocce ball, swimming, walking trails and much more.

Union Settlement also participates in a popular health fair each year, which is sponsored by Metropolitan Hospital, where over 800 people from all over the city get together and receive information and testing. “It’s just another way we keep our seniors healthy,” explains Maria.