Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) celebrated International Women’s Day (March 8th) by honoring their hard-working social workers—women who have gone beyond the call of duty and have dedicated their time to helping seniors living in Spring Creek Towers (SCT)—during a brunch in the Brooklyn Sports Club’s café.
The event was an empowering affair because it was filled with strong, charismatic, and caring women trying to support and uplift each other. SCSP Director, Theodora Ziongas stood in front of the all-female attendees and said, “Women have many roles and they have to work two times harder at what they do. International Women’s Day is about unity, celebration, reflection and advocating globally and locally. In the words of Gloria Steinem: ‘The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.’”
In addition to March being Women’s History Month, it is also recognized as Social Workers Month. Ziongas was proud to announce that their staff of social workers are among the most dedicated, intelligent, and thoughtful group of women she has ever encountered. Considering International Women’s Day and Social Workers Month, Ziongas decided to recognize her staff with a heartfelt video filled with interviews from various seniors praising their work. “Social workers are key in helping SCSP with the 4,000 seniors living active and healthy lives in SCT,” Ziongas said.
Maryna Lysenko has a Masters of Social Work from Adelphi University and has been working as a social worker for SCSP for several years. Ziongas praises Lysenko as a valued member of the SCSP team, who speaks several languages, which helps the diverse group of seniors living in SCT.
About nine months ago, Susana Oganesov’s moved to SCT and began to participate in SCSP’s activities. She thought that because English is not her native language that it would become a barrier in receiving help. However, Lysenko has been at Oganesov’s side helping her with a variety of issues. “Maryna always treats people’s problems with understanding. She is always considerate, smiling and deals with all issues professionally. I think seniors who have problems should see Maryna because she explains everything patiently. If you need it, she will repeat the instructions several times and never lose her temper. She is tactful. Her professionalism and ability to solve issues deserves deep respect,” Oganesov said.
Patricia Ryan is a caseworker. Ziongas says that Ryan is another crucial part of the SCSP team. Ryan is known for her compassion and continuous efforts to go the extra mile to reach out to many of SCT’s homebound seniors.
Ninety-seven-year-old Mildred Perman is proud to be living at home, independently—a feat that she can credit to the help of Patricia Ryan. “I admire Patricia so much. She is the most wonderful worker and has been so helpful to me. I really think that without her I would have never gotten this far living on my own. She is intelligent, bright, loyal, and I just really like her. Patricia is a wonderful person,” Perman said.
Denise Ruiz is a service coordinator of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Ziongas explained that Ruiz provides valuable case management, caseworker assistance, and group services in both Spanish and English.
Laura Alvarez, 102, appreciates all the help Ruiz has provided her over the years. “Denise is a very nice lady. She has always helped me when I needed it. Whenever I need assistance she makes herself available for me. I love her very much.”
Gloria Madison, 88, is also grateful for Ruiz’s support. “Denise is a beautiful person. She is considerate, responsible, thoughtful, and helpful in every way that she could. She never refuses to help me, and is always there to answer your questions. I love her dearly,” Madison said.
After playing a video with the seniors’ praises for the group of attendees, the three social workers were given bouquets of flowers and a round of applause thanking them for their steadfast services.
The International Women’s Day party then commenced with dance music such as Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and Cher’s “Believe.” Malika Djabbarkhodjaeva, the Coordinator of Volunteers and Special Projects for SCSP, got many of the women to shake their hips telling them that dancing is an excellent form of exercise.
Healthy living is a continued theme that SCSP tries to embrace in all of their events—from dance exercise, fruit snacks, and brain-stimulating activities. The event culminated with fun games such as hot potato and a vocabulary building game that involved letters being handed to each table where the seniors listed as many words as possible.
Overall, SCSP’s event was an empowering opportunity for women to talk about living healthy and applaud those social workers who dedicate their lives to helping others.