BY AMANDA MOSES
On August 15th, JASA Starrett Senior Center celebrated 40 years of dedicated service to the Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) community in the lower level of the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC). Friendship, interactive activities, field trips, health seminars, and kosher lunches are just a few of the many programs that continue to be offered to older adults.
JASA transformed the cafeteria in the lower level of the BSC into a restaurant-esque dining hall, featuring dozens of round tables covered in silver cloths, flowers, multigrain bread, salads, and oversized plates. The entire affair felt very much like brunch in a five-star restaurant. Attendees were offered refreshments and then served a roasted chicken, with wild rice, and string beans cooked in almonds for lunch.
Moving from the past and into the future appeared to be the theme of the event since the cafeteria was shrouded in old photos, Spring Creek Sun newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia collected over the past four decades. “Although the faces have changed over the years, the JASA family has stayed the same,” JASA Starrett Director, Angela Blyakher said to the group of seniors in attendance.
Blyaker proudly shares that over the years, even before she was the director, JASA has garnered a reputation of being a kind-hearted social hub for older adults. “At JASA we offer our members fun-filled days with programs in: arts, music, physical activities, educational, recreational programs, and amazing trips,” she said.
She acknowledges that JASA’s success is also due to its extraordinary staff and volunteers, who always welcome members with warm smiles and open minds. In light of their continuous contributions, Blyaker provided the volunteers with certificates of appreciation. She also presented JASA Starrett President, Ruth Horowitz, with a certificate recognizing her for years of steadfast service.
JASA’s extravagant event included several community delegates who have shown their support over the years: Community Leader Nikki Lucas, Starrett City Tenant Association President, Rebecca Caraballo, Spring Creek Senior Partners Director Ronald Jean, Lions Club members James Tillmon, Janice LaCroix, and others. In addition, members from JASA headquarters also reveled in the celebration: JASA Senior Director of Care and Case Management Services, Elaine Rockoff, JASA Senior Director of Senior Centers Aisha Parllion, Associate Director of Senior Centers Russle Nislow, and JASA Director of Nutrition Services Leslie Rosen.
Nan Blackshear, the Community Affairs Director for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was also in attendance. She presented the senior center with a proclamation on behalf of Adams, which stated: “I salute and commend the staff of the JASA Starrett City Senior Center for the extraordinary commitment to our borough’s older residents. To sustain and enrich the lives of the aging in the New York metropolitan area while ensuring that they remain in the community with dignity and independence.” The proclamation also declared Thursday, August 15th to be JASA Starrett Senior Center’s 40th Anniversary Day in Brooklyn.
The event culminated with dancing and laughter as the seniors boogied and shimmied to music performed by a live DJ in the BSC’s Aspen room.
Photos by Amanda Moses