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Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Senior Center
SARATOGA SPRINGS — For 65 years, the Saratoga Senior Center has helped Saratoga County seniors stay active, social and healthy. During COVID-19, the Center has continued these essential services by providing continuous critical outreach, care coordination and engagement for all seniors throughout the county.
They’ve been busy offering free fresh produce and non-perishable foods available for curbside pick-up or delivery every Wednesday, dinners to go and referrals to food pantries; free masks, hand sanitizer, books, puzzles and personal care items for curbside pick-up or delivery; daily check-in and reassurance calls, coordinating care and referrals for basic needs of at-risk and home-bound seniors; grocery shopping and outdoor spring clean-up; 1-1 assistance with Zoom, Facebook & Facebook Live, and the U.S. Census and more.
“We want seniors to stay home and be safe and we will help in any way we can,” says Lois Celeste, the Center’s executive director. “To help seniors stay connected, we’ve been conducting free virtual classes and programs via Zoom for our members, including arts, music, fitness, peer support groups and new initiatives such as ‘Talk Horse Racing with Tom,’ writing workshops, virtual museum tours, and a Seniors to Seniors mentoring program, linking high school and college seniors with older adult seniors. More new and unique programs are to come provided remotely by our Skidmore students. We’re also increasing our social media and online communications,” Celeste adds.
“Our services are critical now more than ever. In the first four months of 2020 alone, we’ve impacted more than 2,400 seniors, matching what we did in all of 2019 when we were already at capacity and needing additional space”, Celeste adds. Mary, a senior, says “It has been a tough couple of months, but things that have made it easier are the Senior Center and their great staff. I get phone calls asking if I need groceries, to see if I need anything, and I can log onto their zoom classes to see my friends. I would be completely alone if it wasn’t for all of you.” Ann says “Thank you for continuing to get information to us. You all must be working 24 hours a day; I’ve emailed about groceries at 8 p.m. and received a message within the hour. You all have been nothing but supportive and kind.” Don adds “Thank you. You are doing a great job of helping everyone to cope.”
May is Older Americans Month and Mental Health Month. The relevance of recognizing both of these in the same month means something greater during COVID-19. Older adults are at greater risk of illness - physically and mentally – during this pandemic. COVID-19 compounds the issue and creates a dangerous combination. Before the pandemic, Senior Centers provided a place in the community for older adults to socialize, grow intellectually, get information, exercise, and eat a healthy meal. During the shutdown, millions of older adults in North America have suddenly lost that community connection. Fortunately for them, the people who run Senior Centers didn’t throw their hands in the air and give up.
If you are a senior and need help with anything, please call 518-584-1621. We can help seniors with outdoor spring clean-up, grocery shopping, 1-1 assistance with Zoom, Facebook & Facebook Live and US Census completion. We are also distributing free fresh produce, books, puzzles, games, and face masks. To learn more or to help us continue with these vital services please go to www.saratogaseniorcenter.org.
The Center is in particular need of iPads or laptops for seniors to allow them access to our virtual classes. Several fundraising initiatives are also in place, including purchase of highly popular insulated wine tumblers and Koozie Koolers and special May Membership promotions as detailed on the website. Please call the Center at 518-584-1621 for more details and follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
SARATOGA COUNTY — Life hasn’t stopped at the Saratoga Senior Center despite the world’s lockdown. The doors are no longer open, but volunteers are practicing social distancing and going around the community to help some of its’ most vulnerable members.
“We’re providing [the senior citizen community] with groceries if they want or referring them to food pantries and things like that. So, we’re helping them in any way we can. We’re helping them cook, we’re delivering them toilet paper if they need, we can deliver puzzles, and games. We’re also working on getting as many masks delivered as possible because that’s the number one request and we’re having a hard time picking them up so we’re looking for people to donate masks as well. We’ve started doing spring clean up and yard work at this point for anybody who has a hard time getting out and needs some help with that,” explained Lois Celeste, executive director.
The senior center has also been offering online Zoom classes and one on ones via phone with volunteers to teach the community how to use and utilize Zoom, social media, and Facebook Live.
“Our goal is to reach out to all seniors in the county and communities and help out if they need it. The big thing is getting the word out. The Zoom programs have been really fun. We’re probably now up to about 15-20 different zoom classes each week and we’re seeing a huge audience. It’s so exciting,” she continued.
The center also has volunteers to help on on one to assist with the Census so people can do it online rather than wait.
“If people call our front desk, we can connect them and help them with any of these things,” she said.
The center is in need of more volunteers and more face masks.
“Obviously for the whole world, this is the new normal and what is that going to look like? And for us, we work with the most vulnerable, we’re very much an essential service and in many ways the volunteers out there are kind of front line. It’s everybody’s goal to get everyone to stay at home but especially to get the seniors to stay at home because they’re independent and it’s okay they do things on their own but we’re trying to get them not to grocery shop and let us help them. They are at risk, it is so critical. I don’t know what will happen as far as the center opening so we’re going to keep going with virtual programming and helping people. Eventually, as the community opens up, we will look at what is safe and responsible to do with seniors for opening up. Some day we’ll be open but i don’t know how long that will be,” Celeste stated.ssc
All photos by SuperSource Media.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The 9th Annual “Music & Mingling” event, to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center, was held May 30 at the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame. The evening featured gourmet food, cigar tastings, live music, Tarot Card readings, a fire pit, and a silent and a live auction. The Center is a non-profit organization that uses grants and fundraising to offset programming and support services for seniors.
Bringing Water To A Community Half A World Away
By Colette Linton
SARATOGA SPRINGS— From history, to tourism and a city brand, the element of water is a facet of Saratoga Springs that permeates many aspects of life and business. However the funds to be raised on April 12 from the “Kids Helping Kids” 5K, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in this community will be directed to benefit another community halfway around the world.
St. Clements Regional Catholic School of Saratoga Springs and the St. Clements Roman Catholic Church since January have raised $27,365.03, as of March 25, for their campaign “Springs For Life”, an initiative to build five wells in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The campaign started when "Water to Thrive" Program Ambassador Suzanne Barrick moved to Saratoga Springs two and a half years ago from Texas.
She brought her experiences with the faith based nonprofit, which donates 100 percent of the funds it receives to building wells in Africa to Saratoga.
After seeing firsthand during a trip last year to Ethiopia the impact the wells her previous congregation funded, she decided to initiate a campaign at St. Clements Roman Catholic Church and the St. Clements Regional Catholic School.
During her trip, she wanted to experience a situation that many have a difficult time imagining: the daily four to six mile trek women and girls in Ethiopia walk for water. “It took me 15 minutes to stabilize the jerry can,” she said. The jerry can being the container weighing 30-45 lbs when filled with water and carried on one’s back.
“That was one of the things I wanted to do,” she said. “We like to think about what it is like, but until you actually do it, to think about the physical burden of doing it. When I was walking, it was exhausting but that you were actually carrying the water that was making your family sick: that was very difficult.”
"Springs For Life" has already received the coordinates of their first four wells to be built in Tigray, Ethiopia. Each well will not only to reach the wealth of the water table beneath the sun-drenched geography of developing countries in Africa, servicing about 250-500 people in a community, but it will cascade into improving other areas of life. to educate a team on how to maintain it as well as making available options for families.
“So what you find is when water projects are implemented, enrollment in schools go up, and the mothers the women can do other things, less commute, they water is healthier, and kids at school,” Barrick said. “And it’s a whole transformation of the quality of life that they have.”
The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that dig the wells also educate the community on how to properly maintain the equipment and about a level of sanitation that was not possible before.
“Kids Helping Kids” will be the final event to wrap up the campaign.
President and Founder of "Water To Thrive", located in Texas, Dick Moeller, visited St. Clements March 22 on World Water Day. Since the nation-wide program’s inception, 450 projects have been carried out to support approximately 210,000 people in four countries in Africa.
The average congregation raises between $5,000 and $10,000 to raise money for one or two projects, and that the amount of funds that St. Clements has aggregated is a great result, he said. “It has gone really well,” he said.