July 13, 2020
At this COVID-19 time with the abundance of time on my hands, I have to reminisce. Before retirement I managed a law office in Manhattan. Eventually, the firm folded because the founder himself retired. I found it impossible to find employment because of my age, and nothing seemed suitable to my standards. I would have to start elsewhere at an entry level.
I came to HANAC in 2011 and found my dream second life. It was as though I entered a new phase of my life because I found friends that became my extended family. I bonded and discovered a whole different world. I found I could come and go to the center at my choosing taking classes in anything from discussion groups, exercise classes, do field trips, see movies and the like. I was introduced to photography and have been doing that ever since. I had the luxury of participating in the offerings or not.
Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to participate in several committees including the Advisory Committee where I felt as though I were back at the law office happily keeping records. I cannot tell you the amazing bonus I received when I volunteered to organize the library in total disarray at the time. I was my own boss, and I was again in management.
I couldn’t be happier until this year, the era of the coronavirus. With the mandatory closing of the center, I thought all would be doom and gloom. I was totally wrong. Because of your concern with the HANAC community, you established an ability to reconnect with others. I envisioned a world of isolation, but you gave us Zoom. Not only is the connection an invaluable tool to continue with our interests in the arts, exercise, wellness, and academic endeavors, the program helped me to bear the self-quarantining. I could tune in and see my friends and share thoughts and have that link with my peers.
And you did more than keep morale up, you have your staff call us at times to see if anything is amiss. You took in our complaints and saw that food was delivered to us.
Maria, you are the glue that keeps the HANAC community together. My hats off to you, and I hope to see you back at the center sooner than soon.
My husband passed away 10 years ago. I needed to find something to fill my days. I was fortunate to learn about HANAC and joined 7 years ago. When I wake up, I have the incentive to dress and put on my earrings. I know that my caring bus driver will soon be here to escort me to the van that will take me to HANAC. From the moment I get on the bus, till the moment I return to my house, I feel cared for and loved.
As soon as you enter HANAC you are greeted with smiles from the staff and members. People are happy to see me and I them. I joined programs such as chorus, exercise, jewelry making and art. Our members created beautiful jewelry. I was responsible for the organization of the jewelry sale. This gave me joy and purpose. The instructors are so kind and inspiring. On Fridays, we have Bingo, which I love and one Tuesday a month we have a party. My day goes by so contently. I enjoy eating a good lunch there with my friends. HANAC is my family and my second home. HANAC has provided us with zoom classes which keep us connected during this during this corona virus epidemic.
Thank you HANAC for all you do for me and other seniors.
Despina Sourvanos - 95 years old
I retired 10 years ago from teaching. I now had the time to exercise and engage in creative options. Fortunately, my mother, introduced me to HANAC. I thought that this was a place for older seniors but I soon discovered it offered many things for this “junior seniors.” From the moment, I joined HANAC, I began a new and fulfilling life. HANAC offers me the opportunity to work on my art and creative skills with a knowledgeable instructor. Each day our amazing physical fitness instructor provides us with different exercise programs. Nutrition and wellness workshops are given weekly. I am involved with setting up trips that our members enjoy. I volunteer for events and I am pleased that my experiences and skills can be used to help enhance HANAC’s already amazing programs.
HANAC gives people the opportunity to explore new interests, make new friends and have a good time. During this corona virus epidemic, our HANAC administrators have worked diligently to provide their members with the opportunity to connect with instructors and classmates through zoom.
These zoom classes have made a big difference in the way we are able to cope with this isolation. I thank HANAC for all they do for us.
Genoveve Pollatos – Vice Chairperson – 69 years old
Karline Guzman works as the Director of Property Management for HANAC. She started in property management as a receptionist, twenty years ago and worked her way up to Assistant Property Manager, then to Property Manager and now to Director.Starting from the bottom up gave her an advantage of seeing all sides of property management and where HANAC can improve in this area. She has leased up and cleaned up multiple buildings in her previous jobs and it’s a passion for her to find suitable accommodations for the clients. Her goal is to broaden HANAC’s role in property management and become a household name in low-income housing.