“We take pride in being a place where our older adults can be curious and ask questions that might be uncomfortable to ask your neighbor but are so important to expand our horizons.” Despite the pandemic forcing programs to go virtual, directors like Shelly Channan at the Central Queens Older Adult Center strive to bring our communities closer together.
“It’s important that we make an effort to understand each other better. It’s amazing that we lead with Jewish values in our agency, and having a multicultural staff truly allows us to facilitate programs and celebrations for everyone.”
We have provided virtual programs for over 3,000 older adults since the start of the pandemic, and with these programs taking place virtually for so long we’ve engaged neighbors from our familiar areas, as well as Manhattan, Brooklyn and even Connecticut. Offering safe opportunities for these participants to come together has helped us stay connected and learn from each other, and it’s made the return to in person services that much sweeter.
“Being virtual allowed us even greater opportunities to listen to and learn from one another, and our multicultural staff really helps to facilitate that. Having staff who not only look like they represent the different demographics of our borough, but speak Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin and Cantonese, really helps make our older adults feel comfortable and supported.”
“To bring people together to celebrate AND ask questions about the significance of the celebration for holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, Lunar New Year and more has been transformational. We’re looking forward to celebrating more, and learning more too. That’s what community is all about!”