Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Big Changes At Roosevelt Island Senior Center, NYC Department For Aging Replaces Long Time Management - Carter Burden Center For Aging TakesOver Services Starting July 1

The Roosevelt Island Senior Center provides programs and services for NYC residents 55 years of age and older funded by the NYC Department For The Aging (DFTA). Services include:

The long time operator of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center was replaced this week by the NYC DFTA. Starting July 1, the Carter Burden Center For The Aging will operate the contract to provide Roosevelt Island Senior Services. No reason has been announced for replacing the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (a separate organization from the Roosevelt Island Senior Center) incoming President Barbara Parker reports:
DFTA has come in for the balance of June to oversee the programs, lunches, the classes and any other programs scheduled under DFTA,

As of July 1st, The Roosevelt Island Senior Association will run their own programs and events As of July 1st Carter Burden will oversee all the classes, lunches events and programs.

Both organizations are looking forward to working together to enhance community program for our members.
I asked Ms. Parker if:
... an investigation is being conducted regarding Roosevelt Island Senior Center practices.
Ms Parker replied:
No. There is no investigation being conducted regarding the Roosevelt Island Senior Association.
Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos adds:
There will be no interruption of services for Roosevelt Island seniors from the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

The Carter Burden Center will be taking over the contract starting July 1 and will bring the similar services offered at current centers to Roosevelt Island and you can learn more at

 I will continue to work closely with the Department for the Aging to ensure that this transition will be a smooth one for all senior center staff and seniors.
The former Director of Roosevelt Island Senior Center, Rema Townsend, described some of their activities and programs during an October 14, 2015 presentation to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Purpose Funds (PPF) Committee seeking funds for Senior Center exercise programs. According to Ms. Townsend:
The Roosevelt Island Senior Center is devoted to its mission to enhance the well-being of senior citizens from all ethnicities and financial backgrounds. The center will promote the general welfare of senior citizens and provide programs to meet the physical, social, civil and recreational needs for the senior population on Roosevelt Island....

In October 2015, RIRA's Island Services Committee was asked to investigate the programs and services offered by the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. According to the RIRA ISC June 2016 Report:
... Enhanced Programs and Services at Senior Center – ISC has decided to not make this an active issue at present. Instead, we will monitor activities to learn what changes and improvement might be made by the new leadership, which takes over in July....
The Roosevelt Island Senior Association held an election last night for new officers. According to its Executive Board:
On June 7, The Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA) held an election that ushered out the old and welcomed in a new administration.

But before this election took place, a publically announced nominations meeting took place on May 3 in the Senior Center. The nominees for election began with Wendy Hersh, moving up from her position as Vice President was nominated to become the RISA President, attempting to take on the mantle of Dolores Green, the 14 year President of the organization. Barbara Parker. who has been the Secretary and Outreach Liaison of RISA, was also nominated for the same position.

Bubu Arya, RISA Treasurer, was nominated for Vice President. Arya was pitted against newcomer in Island politics, Donna Chenkin, a former Executive Director for fourteen years of early childhood education at Belmont Park for children of backstretch employees.

Patricia Stovall was in the running for RISA Treasurer with a background in Social Work Administration and a record of keeping financial records while serving as the Treasurer of Unity Center of New York on the Board of Directors, summarizing the financial dealings of the Center.

Sherie Helstien with nearly 18 years on the RIRA Common Council and twelve years as that organization’s Secretary was nominated for the position of RISA Secretary.

In the interim between nominations and the actual run for office, Ms. Hersh made the decision for personal reasons, to withdraw her name from the election, leaving the now uncontested position to Ms. Parker, while both Stovall and Helstien also ran in uncontested races.

The race between Arya and Chenkin was the one to watch. And tonight the numbers didn’t lie: Chenkin received 70 votes to Arya’s 38.

The election ran from 10am to 7pm and at the closing, the last poll workers, Karen and Chris Johnson with an assist from the very meticulous Linda Heimer, counted the votes. There were a total of 108 ballots cast.

RISA thanks all those volunteers who assisted us as poll watchers: Dave Evans, Foreil Sanders, Vicki Feinmel, Lorraine Altman Diane Lindeman, Nita Advani, Judi Arond, and Karen and Chris Johnson. We also thank the independent vote count observers, Nancy Brown and Gloria Narducci for their presence.
Big changes coming to the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

Here's more on the programs and services currently offered by The Carter Burden Center For The Aging.

UPDATE 6/9 - A spokesperson for the NYC DFTA says:
The Department for the Aging always works to provide the highest quality, most robust services to older New Yorkers, including at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. At the conclusion of the current provider’s contract, a decision was made by DFTA to bring in a new provider to reinvigorate programming in order to best serve this community.
UPDATE 6/14 - Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright adds:
It is imperative that Roosevelt Island continues to have services for all our seniors so they can enjoy their lives with dignity and support they have earned. The Carter Burden Center for the Aging will assume sponsorship of the senior center on the island, without any interruption in services.

I am working closely with the Department of Aging during this transition to ensure that our seniors have enriching and beneficial services, and programs for many years to come.