Habitat for Humanity of New York City joined by with corporate partner Delta to brighten the days of Maspeth senior citizens at their home away from home.
Selected by Habitat for Humanity in late June, the Selfhelp Senior Center on Grand Avenue underwent major changes in less than a month. Brush With Kindness, a program that revitalizes community enters, brought in volunteers to repaint the dull walls.
According to director Maria Dixon, about 100 seniors utilize the center daily, enjoying breakfast and lunch and a wide variety of activities, including Zumba, craft classes and technology instruction.
The seniors voted on the new colors, and with almost unanimous agreement chose a warm shade of sunshine yellow and bright blue. Dixon said the center has not been painted in over eight years.
“The seniors are so thrilled that their center looks beautiful again,” she said. “It was starting to get very shabby looking. We had grey beige, very dingy walls.”
Norma Zimmermann has been attending the senior center for 11 years. She was happy to see the center receive a much-needed paint job.
“They were so nice, they did such a beautiful job painting,” she said. “The yellow is so beautiful, everything looks so warm. I think it will bring new people in to the center. It really looks fabulous, it brightens everything.”
Activities at the senior center went uninterrupted during the painting, Dixon said, and the seniors were happy to show their appreciation, often giving words of encouragement to the volunteers.
“This is basically our backyard, we want to help our fellow Queens folk,” said Tricia Rumola, Delta’s manager of Community Affairs.
According to Rumola, Delta volunteers played bingo with the seniors on their breaks.
“It has not been painted in so long so we are happy to come,” she said “We do these projects a lot, and it is really great to see the before and after. The colors really brighten up the whole room.”
According to Sabrina Lippman, director of Corporate Partnerships for Habitat for Humanity NYC, each year volunteers help paint over 100 community centers.
“We want to make sure that we are providing our service to community centers that really help the communities that they are in,” Lippman said. “To us it is just a few coats of paint, but it makes a world of a difference to them.”