For as long as I can remember, I have loved the company of older people, starting with my grandparents. Their experience, their wisdom, and their love, always enchanted me. I have such fond memories of them – playing cards, taking walks, cooking, creating family trees, telling stories, and constantly exclaiming, “I can’t wait to be retired!” I am lucky enough to say my Grandma and Grandpa are still around to remind me of that to this day.
Today, I am fortunate to serve as the Director of Outreach & Community Engagement here at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center – a program of The Carter Burden Center for the Aging. I am also proud to tell you that I have been with Carter Burden since 2006, when I began working with the older adult population professionally, managing the home-delivered meals program and assisting with senior center activities and programming.
Since that time, Carter Burden has grown quite a bit! The agency, a leader in services for seniors, now has five senior centers along with several notable programs including: the Carter Burden Gallery, the Caregiver Resource Program, our Social Work and Case Management Units, Cultural Connections, and more.
Through my work with Carter Burden, I am reminded time and time again how truly committed the administration and staff are to serving older adults in New York City. We take pride in providing community and a sense of belonging that allow older adults the opportunity to be seen, heard, and valued. With a bright and compassionate staff of over 60 people, we are able to collaborate on a daily basis to provide innovative and creative programming and services.
Your Island Services
Since Carter Burden took over the leadership of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center in July of 2016, we have been touched deeply by the warm welcome so many of you have extended to us. This is a one-of-a-kind community and we are inspired every day by the devotion, participation, and activism displayed by those who live and work here.
Since July, we have introduced a variety of new programming and services, and are always mindful to continue the traditions that thrived here for years. With the director of our center, Lisa Fernandez, at the helm, we have worked hard to foster a warm, inviting, and dynamic environment.
We serve lunch daily, provide a variety of fitness, art, and educational programs, and have a full-time case manager, Yulisa Santana, to help guide our participants through vulnerable and often complicated life circumstances. We are also proud to host monthly memory screenings and to welcome Hunter College nursing students on a weekly basis to assist with the promotion of health and wellness.
We host many festive events at the Center, including monthly birthday parties and celebrations for holidays, many of which have included live music. We recently held a celebration to honor caregivers, and organized a Senior Law Day, where 21 local resource organizations gathered to inform the community about their programming and services. In May, we will host Senior Health & Wellness Day. We also have an informational workshop almost every Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
I want to thank the people who live and work here. It is quite obvious that so many of you go above and beyond to better the Island and the lives of those who live here. Without the support of this great community, we would not have been able to propel this programming and these invaluable collaborations forward.
We are so grateful to have forged wonderful new relationships and partnerships with many organizations and volunteers around the Island, and to have received generous donations from community members and local vendors for so many of our special events. Stay tuned for our Volunteer Recognition Party on Thursday, April 20th!
To become a member of the Senior Center, please visit us at 546 Main Street, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Membership and all programming are free. We serve lunch daily at noon, for which we request a voluntary contribution of $1.50 per person. Membership is open to adults aged 60 and over, as well as those with or without disabilities who reside with an older adult.
This is your Center – and our goal is to do everything possible to make it feel like a place you can call home.