More than 683,000 New Yorkers age 60 and up perform volunteer service annually
The New York State Office for the Aging hosted the 2013 Senior Citizens Recognition Day event to honor and recognize the significant contributions made by older volunteers from across the state. More than 150 volunteers, family members, legislative leaders and professionals in the field of aging gathered in the Hart Theatre Lounge at the Egg in Albany to celebrate the occasion.
Each May, as part of the national Older Americans Month, NYSOFA celebrates older New Yorkers at an annual Senior Citizens' Day event. This year's theme, set by the Federal Administration on Community Living/Administration on Aging, is "Unleash the Power of Age." It recognizes the social, intellectual and economic contributions of older individuals through civic engagement and volunteerism to address pressing social and community needs. The honorees were chosen by their county's Office for the Aging.
Presiding over the Senior Citizens' Day activities, Greg Olsen, NYSOFA acting director, announced, "Our awardees, through their actions, demonstrate that one person can indeed make a difference to their communities. Older New Yorkers give almost 50 million hours of their time and energy to help others and to strengthen their communities throughout the year. We are fortunate to have people like this in our state doing what they can to improve the lives of their neighbors and friends while also reaping a personal benefit - better personal health. These volunteers are the true unsung heroes that live beside us, serving as the thread that helps maintain the social fabric of New York."
More than 683,000 New Yorkers over age 60 annually volunteer their energy and talents to help enhance the lives of their fellow residents by: serving as mentors to school children, serving on the boards of not-for-profits, being companions to the frail and disabled, serving as patient navigators, helping provide and deliver meals to frail older adults, and in many other meaningful ways. These volunteers represent a tremendous source of social capital, which is valued annually at approximately $1.3 billion, according to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The formal program began with the presentation of the State Police Color Guard and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by the reading of Gov. Cuomo's proclamation by Olsen; remarks by Aging Committee chairs Sen. Eric Adams and Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman; recognition of individual honorees and distribution of recognition certificates. Also included in the program was a brief video clip on volunteerism, which featured comments by former Sen.Harris Wofford, who is a national leader of the movement to keep older persons civically engaged in activities designed to help them remain as active and healthy contributing members of their communities; and Dr. Linda Fried, dean of Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and a leader in the field of epidemiology and geriatrics.
A commemorative booklet containing brief descriptions of each honoree's volunteer service was produced and distributed to attendees. A copy of the booklet is available at: http://www.aging.ny.gov/SeniorCitizensDay/2013SrCitProgram.pdf
The chairs of the Legislative Aging Committees presented the State Senior Citizens of the Year award to Salvatore "Buddy" Scotto of Brooklyn and the Outstanding Contribution by a Senior award to Hazel Coleman of New York City.
For information on Senior Citizens' Day or to find out about NYSOFA's programs and services, visit www.aging.ny.gov or call the statewide senior citizens helpline at 1-800-342-9871.