Happy Birthday! For a senior citizen, you look more vibrant everyday.
The Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) celebrates its 45th year of providing services to seniors in Southeast Queens.
JSPOA was founded by Theodora Jackson, the Director of the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica’s Older Adult Program, in the 1970s. Based on a church assessment, she noted there was a large demand for senior housing. The first senior housing complex, LIHFE (Low Income Housing for the Elderly) was erected on Jamaica Avenue and 170th Street. In 1972, First Presbyterian asked CSS, a Manhattan nonprofit specializing in social services, to act as their parent agency to help provide services for seniors in the LIHFE building. In 1977, the program no longer needed the parent company’s assistance and incorporated on its own.
Today, JSPOA operates five senior centers, a program for victims of crime (elder abuse, domestic violence) and an employment program for seniors over 55 years of age. Over the years JSPOA has been known for its innovative programs such as their HIV/AID program Senior Educating Senior and Action Coalition. JSPOA has addressed senior food insecurity and sponsored shopping trips to supermarkets where seniors can access fresh and affordable food items.
It provides respite and resources for caregivers and continues to provide quality, innovative services and program to address the needs of seniors. Their motto continues to be “A total community working together to serve its elderly”.
JSPOA reminds the community that its seniors rock. Participate in any of its dances or galas and be prepared to experience a party of hooting, hollering and an untold number of booty-shakings and get downs. JSPOA also has a heart and sensitivity to seniors and their needs. They are not afraid to tackle the challenging issues of the time on behalf of their seniors.
“We want to continue to provide services to address the issues of today’s seniors and keep the agency a viable institution in the community,” said Executive Director Beverly Collier.§ Photos: JSPOA Gala 2014, Yolanda Abdul, Gala participant (k.clements)