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The Senior Connection Opens

The Arc Westchester Celebrates Opening of The Senior Connection

New program, housed at the Ann Manzi Center in Mount Kisco, combines a senior-friendly space with multi-generational activities to better serve the aging population

Westchester County, N.Y. (October 8, 2018) – The Arc Westchester, the largest nonprofit organization supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Westchester County,is pleased to announce the launch of the first phase of a new offering called The Senior Connection. This unique program, designed to support the needs of people as they age, offers individuals a safe space where they can interact with peers as well as young people through various activities. The organization celebrated the exciting occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Ann Manzi Center in Mount Kisco on Thursday, Oct. 4. Of note, Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich, Mount Kiso Deputy Mayor Jean Farber and Hudson Valley Coordinator of Community Supports and Services (OPWDD) Debbie Newman were in attendance.

In creating The Senior Connection, The Arc Westchester took a holistic approach to aging; one that is centered on dignity in a supportive environment.  Over the last 12 months, the majority of the Ann Manzi Center’s main level was transformed and is now dedicated to senior offerings. The modified space includes a lounge/living room with a fireplace and TV, as well as a library/game room. To promote accessibility for all program participants, The Senior Connection features a handicapped bathroom with a shower, simulated wood to eliminate trip hazards, and handrails throughout the space.

At The Senior Connection, individuals can engage in age-appropriate activities geared towards health and wellness while being social, fun, stimulating and relaxing. Activities may include yoga, chair exercise, dance, music, tai chi, pet therapy, board games, gardening and art. The Arc Westchester will also collaborate with local senior centers on events, giving program participants the opportunity to socialize with the larger community.

The Ann Manzi Center also houses the organization’s Youth Connection Studios, which offers young adults the opportunity to build employment skills and experience life through community engagement. The addition of The Senior Connection allows ample opportunities for intergenerational activities with participants in both groups.

“Aging is a part of the ‘Arc’ of life and we need to accommodate our aging population. The Senior Connection is our way of doing so. Currently, 35% of our day services participants are over the age of 50 and our oldest participant is 91 years old,” said Tibisay (Tibi) Guzmán, executive director and CEO, The Arc Westchester. “When we set out to create The Senior Connection, our goal was to create an environment that exceeds the centers available for seniors in our community, programmatically, socially and aesthetically. We want these individuals to feel comfortable, accepted, happy and integrated with the community. We believe we have not only met this goal, but exceeded it, and we look forward to those we serve being able to enjoy this new offering.”

During the ribbon cutting celebration, Nancy Patota, executive director, The Arc Westchester Foundation, announced the second phase of The Senior Connection: an outdoor patio space and accessible nature walking trail. The project will cost $1 million and, recently, a benefactor generously donated $250,000 to support the extension.

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The Arc Westchester

The Arc Westchester, founded in 1949, is the largest agency in Westchester County supporting children, teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families. The organization’s 850 employees provide more than 2,000 individuals throughout the county with a broad range of innovative and effective programs and services designed to foster independence, productivity and participation in community life.

The mission of The Arc Westchester is to empower children, teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum, to achieve their potential by strengthening families and encouraging personal choices, abilities and interests.

The Arc Westchester is a chapter of The Arc USA and The Arc New York.

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