Gramatan Village in Bronxville
SW: As one of Armour Villa’s key partners, I know the organization has been expanding its mandate to serve seniors not only in Bronxville Village but in the surrounding communities, and also have significantly increased your programming and services. What changes have you been making specific to the impact of COVID-19?
SS: We love working with Armour Villa, and although Kathryn Urbina who handles our member services and I are both working remotely for the most part, we have a through the support of our amazing members and donors, been able to expand the range of offerings not only to our members, but now to the general public free of charge during this crisis.
SW: What are some of the programs and services you are offering that try to help people coping with the isolation and challenges of COVID-19?
SS: GV volunteers and some others from Christ Church here in Bronxville have been delivering meals and shopping for older adults at local grocery stores. We have a roster of service vendors that is vetted so our users have peace of mind knowing they are working with a trusted source and they can turn to us for help and assistance when problems arise with the daily activities of life.
SW: Are there some social programs you would like folks to know about that they could take advantage of during this stressful time?
SS: Absolutely! Since you are a member already, you are aware of our Gramatan Village Men’s Group that meets monthly. Initially, it was meeting at the Tap Restaurant in Tuckahoe, but with the onset of COVID-19, we first transitioned to a conference call and then more recently to Zoom meetings. We even offered instruction to some of our members on how to navigate the Zoom platform and it worked very well. This is a lively discussion forum and we are now up to a group of 20 men and participants take part in the sessions talking about current affairs or specific topics that are presented to the group by one of the members.
Other programs we offer are the Well Spouse Support Group where men and women who have the role of caregivers for their spouse come together to share their struggles, challenges and experience, and just enjoy a break with people who can relate to their unique situation. The Daughterhood Circle is a support group for women who have loved ones going through transitions related to aging. We also have our Mystery Club for our mystery lovers and now we are just beginning a new series called A Zoom of One’s Own featuring virtually curated workshops and discussions led by subject experts, or in some cases people from the community who have wonderful personal experiences or pursuits to share. We are also offering a program we are calling NETFLiX Matinee Afternoon Party, and we are continuing our Virtual Breakfast Club. We also offer a Book club, Poetry club, Birthday Trivia Parties and individual counseling.
SW: What is your objective with these types of programs?
SS: All of these programs are geared to helping break through the social isolation that many seniors experience and which is magnified by the COVID crisis. It is just a great way to meet people from all walks of life and share experiences together in a safe and friendly environment. We have seen a real surge in both interest and participation which is exciting.
SW: Do you work with any other partners?
SS: Yes, in fact in collaboration with the Bronxville Middle School, their students are offering our members tech support with computers, Internet and other social media technologies like Zoom and Webex. We call that program Techy Teens and we have also established an Intergenerational PenPal Program with the students. We have had great support from you and Katherine (Sutton) and others from Armour Villa, The Village of Tuckahoe, and of course Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin has been a big supporter of our mission.
SW: Looking forward, what if any concerns do you have about the pandemic and how GV might be affected?
SS: Of course our biggest worry is that we see a resurgence in the Fall and as you know we serve a particularly vulnerable population, so we are in close touch with our partners at NYP Lawrence who are always ready to offer our members support and guidance on health issues as well as our other community providers.
For more info on Gramatan Village and its programs you can visit their website https://www.gramatanvillage.org,
call 914.337.1338 or email them at:[email protected]
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