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3278 Whitehaven Road

Previous Golden Age Center News
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Dinner and a Craft - Wednesday, January 23rd.
January Newsletter    January Menu

Warm Up WNY Blanket Drive Drop off at GAC or Town Hall
Calling All Chess Players!
Dementia Respite Service     Yellow Dot Program
University Express Erie County Class Schedule

Golden Age Center Christmas Party - December 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

    The Golden Age Center Christmas party was on Thursday, December 13th at the center, complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus.There was a gift exchange, a prize for the one who was closest to the number of pine cones in a container and other drawings. The senior choir also sang a number of Christmas songs. Christmas dinner was a huge success, put on by the great kitchen crew.

Golden Age Center Breakfast with Santa - December 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

    It was a special time at the Grand Island Senior Center on Saturday, December 1st, as children, parents and grandparents enjoyed the annual Breakfast with Santa. After enjoying a great breakfast, children participated in special activities planned for them, which included face painting, cookie decorating, coloring fun, Christmas games and of course a visit from Santa. Each child also went home with a hand knit hat to keep them warm.

Golden Age Center Holiday Happenings - November 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Golden Age Center Annual Holiday Happenings took place on Saturday, Ocotber 20th. There were many vendors selling their wares, a huge basket raffle, and face painting for the kids. Over 30 bakers contributed to the baked good sale and roast beef sandwiches, soup and chili were available for lunch. Lucky winners of the tv raffle were Mike Madigan and Cindy Lin. Over $4300 was raised to help with projects at the center.

Golden Age Center Historic Tour - October 2018

The Whitehaven Cemetery on East River Road dates back to the Whitehaven Settlement in the 1830's.

The old stone structure at the Radisson Hotel site has been referred to as a smokehouse, icehouse and storage area. It is also part of the Whitehaven Settlement.

This is an original ice house from the Rumsey/Schutt farm located at 828 East River Road, late 1800's.

The original fountain at River Lea, Beaver Island State Park.

The stone wall is located in Ferry Village on East River Road. It is from the Frank Offermann estate.

Lunch at the Village Inn.

Mary Stewart Photos.

    The Golden Age Center members had an opportunity on Wednesday, October 17th for a historic tour of Grand Island, given by former Supervisor Mary Cooke. The tour visited some of the oldest structures on the Island. After the tour, everyone enjoyed lunch at the Village Inn.

Yellow Dot Program Provides First Responders with Important Information - October 2018

    The Yellow Dot is a free program designed to help first responders provide life-saving medical attention during the first "golden hour" "after a crash or other emergency. Yellow Dot packets are now available. The Yellow Dot kit contains a medical information card and a Yellow Dot decal. Participants complete the card, attach a recent photo, place it in the glove compartment of their vehicle and place the Yellow Dot decal on the rear driver’s side window. First responders arriving at the scene of an emergency will be alerted by the Yellow Dot decal to look for the medical information card in the glove compartment.
    This program is important as families can fill out important information on their loved one going through memory loss, and put it on file in their home and with the local police department. In the case of a Silver Alert, having this information is vital to the quick recovery of the senior citizen.
    Funded by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the Yellow Dot Program is a free service available to individuals of all ages. In Erie County, Yellow Dot kits will be available at all Erie County Sheriff’s substations, pharmacies, senior centers, Erie County Legislature, and DMV offices. For information about the Yellow Dot Program, or to schedule a community presentation, please contact the Sheriff's Office at 716-858-6299. Additional information is available at http://nysheriffs.org/yellowdot.

Celebration of Gratitude - October 2018

Fahim and Seema Mojawalla.

Fahim with seniors.

    On Wednesday, September 26th, Seema and Fahim Mojawalla, owners of Island Ship Center, entertained a group of senior citizens from the Golden Age Center in a "Celebration of Gratitude".
    This was a thank you for the support the seniors give to the shipping business throughout the year. There were games with prizes for all, refreshments and the Skittles game. Handfuls of Skittles candies were placed into a bowl, it was passed around and each game player was asked to pick one without looking. Each color that they received represented a question that would be asked, which they would have to answer in public. Here is a list of the questions asked, corresponding to the color of the Skittles candy that was picked:
    Everyone had a wonderful time!

Magical Miniature Gardens - September 2018

   {September 18, 2018} Grand Island, NY - The fairy garden trend is quickly spreading among youth and adults throughout Western New York and is a great way for anyone to get creative with their planters during any season. Once finished, they look like a scene out of "The Hobbit", a place children often dream about. It proves to be a true test of one's imagination as there are many different themes and supplies that can be used.
   On Thursday, September 13, 2018, members at the Golden Age Center put on their gardening gloves to give it a whirl! The result? Magical miniature gardens made for fairies and creatures of the sort with perfectly sized accessories and plants for their worlds. The fairy garden architects were provided with an abundance of supplies picked from nature, plucked out of messy basements, and donated by other members. Led by staff member, Molly Vigrass, with help from Liz Wilbert, the participants filled their planters with live air plants, a fairy or gnome to inhabit the space, bottle cap mushrooms, mossy hills, button walkways, bark huts, and sandy beaches.
   The Grand Island Golden Age Center hopes to offer more classes like this in the future. Whether it was a first time gardener or a crafting connoisseur, ideas and laughs were shared. For senior citizens specifically, it can be a great way to spend quality time with grandkids and promote imagination and even education. One member in the class was inspired to gather supplies with her grandkids and become mini architects for the day. The worlds and memories they create together make ours just a little bit more magical.

Community Assistance Needed - September 2018

    Members of the Golden Age Center are starting a special project for the "Friends of the Night People" program, a charitable organization that helps the poor, homeless and destitute in Buffalo. If you are able to donate reusable water bottles, small filled water bottles or flavor packets to be added to water bottles, please drop off at the Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. Call Carrie Mesmer with any questions at 773-9682.

Stuffing School Tax Bills for Town - September 2018

Standing from left: Pat Ehinger, Linda Clark, Dorothy Lew and Jean Schlegal.
Sitting from left: Jeri Benzing & Nonnie Carrol.

    Several members of the Grand Island Golden Age Center spent many hours on Wednesday, September 5th, stuffing envelopes for the residents of Grand Island. The volunteers prepared the school tax bills for mailing, saving the town many dollars. The volunteers enjoy a catered lunch in return for their hours of service. Many of the same group gather in January each year to stuff the town tax bills.

Updates at the Golden Age Center - July 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

   This spring and early this summer, the Golden Age Center has had some major updates and improvements to their buildings and grounds.
   The last few, harsh winters had taken its toll on the awning. A new, expanded awning was installed earlier this month and provides extra shade for those who would like to sit outside and enjoy the beauty of the Nike Base, The awning extends from the building to the drop-off area of the parking lot and will help protect members from the elements.
   A new Community Garden was created at the east side of the building, complete with herbs and vegetables for members and community to pick and enjoy at home. Many of the fresh herbs and vegetables are used in the daily lunch service at the center. The gardens at the front of the building were beautified with pebbles in the garden bed, surrounding the bushes and trees purchased and planted by members past and present.
   A new Golden Age Center Memorial Wall has been installed on the front of the building, displaying nameplates of deceased past presidents and members. Stepping stones lead up to a new Memorial Garden honoring Jakob Jung, featuring a red rose bush and other assorted bushes. The Memorial Wallk and Garden will bring reflection, peace and beauty to the Nike Base.
   Walls on the south and east sides of the building that were defaced by graffitti in the past received a fresh coat of paint.

Full-time Recreation Leader Wanted - July 2018

    The Golden Age Center is looking for a full-time recreation leader at the center. See job description.

Senior Wishes Seeks Participants - June 2018

    Alvera received her first massage at age 100. Florence, a long-time kitchen worker, toured the kitchen and dined at Russell's. Jim, a Korean War Veteran, attended a BPO concert for the first time since eighth grade, and Annie celebrated her heritage at the Gullah Festival in South Carolina. Senior Wishes, WNY's only program dedicated to enriching the lives of deserving seniors by granting meaningful wishes, is continually on the lookout for more seniors to assist.
    According to Wendy Miller Backman, Senior Wishes Executive Director, "Senior Wishes was created to recognize that our aging seniors still have things they want to do, places they want to go, or people they want to see. We transform those dreams into a reality."
    The organization will be granting its 150th wish this summer, and strives to grant more wishes to seniors in 2018. Wish request can be big or small. In addition to very special outings, many seniors have received items such as: a new sewing machine; a new tape deck to DJ parties; and small household items or craft/hobby supplies.
    Wish recipients must meet the following requirements: Age 65+ and a resident of Erie or Niagara County with an annual income $38,000 or less for a household of one or $44,000 or less for a household of two or a permanent resident of a care facility; cognitively, emotionally and physically capable of communicating and experiencing the wish; and unable to fulfill the wish on their own. To learn how to apply for a wish, visit www.seniorwishes.org or call Wendy at 716-508-2121.

Legislator Hardwick Delivers Flowers to Moms - May 2018

GAC member Iris Jircitano, 91 years young and Kevin Hardwick.

    Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick stopped by the Grand Island Senior Center to pass out flowers as a special gift ahead of Mother's Day. "It was my pleasure to hand out carnations and wish these wonderful women a Happy Mother's Day," said Legislator Hardwick. "This was a small gesture to recognize the tremendous influence mothers have on our lives." The Erie County Legislature also issued a proclamation in celebration of Mother's Day, which can be found here.

GAC Enjoys Chef Barry's World Famous Pie - May 2018

Barry Conway with Southwestern Taco Pies.

   On Thursday, May 17th, the Golden Age Center lunch crowd enjoyed feasting on Barry Conway's award winning Southwestern Taco Pie. In 2003, Barry was one of four winners of Emeril's Pie Contest on the FOOD Network with this recipe. It was Season 1, Episode 41, of Emeril Live, if you want to go watch it. If you are over 50 years of age and a Grand Island resident, check out the Golden Age Center and what it has to offer.

Older Americans Month Town Proclamation - May 2018

Town Board presents proclamation to Golden Age Center members.

   The month of May is celebrated as Older Americans Month to honor our senior citizens. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, which emphasizes that you are never too old (or too young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being and celebrates the many ways older adults make a difference in our communities. On Monday, May 7th, a group of Golden Age Center members led by President Nancy Toby were at the Town Board meeting to accept a proclamation from the Grand Island Town Board.

Birthdays, Remembrance & Kentucky Derby - May 2018


Mary Stewart Photos.

   On Wednesday, May 2nd, the Golden Age Center celebrated May birthdays at the monthly birthday luncheon. They also took time to remember thirteen active members who passed away in 2017, with thirteen yellow roses, music by the senior chorus, prayers, and the reading of "Life Well Lived" by Jen Mentor.
The senior center also celebrated the Kentucky Derby by wearing their finest hats and playing a dice game with "real" horses.

Bryce Wolf, Intern and Entertainer - May 2018

Bryce Wolf entertains seniors at Golden Age Center.

    Bryce Wolf, a student from Grand Island Senior High School is a friend of the Golden Age Center, and presently is doing an internship there. Once a week, Bryce comes to the center to help with various projects and tasks, and he shares his love of piano playing with everyone. Last week he played everything from classical music to Star Wars! Thank you to Bryce for sharing his time and talents!

GAC Volunteer Appreciation Day - April 2018

Town Councilwoman Bev Kinney with GAC President Nancy Tobe.

Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Grand Island Golden Age Center hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 to thank the more than 70 volunteers who provide support for ongoing activities as program instructors, Respite aides, and Meals on Wheels delivery people. The ceremony was attended by 41 volunteers, who enjoyed individual recognition and thanks, along with a delicious meal and wonderful camaraderie.
   Among the attendees: Nancy Tobe, Michelle Chasse, Dorothy Lew, Jerry Kutis, Barbara Nowakowski, Brenda Cassoni, Lorraine Willcox, Sue Bognar, Ruth Landel, Ann Dlugokinski, Ada Payne, Lucy & Chuck Delavalle, Martha Muller, John Ducknik, Nonnie Carroll, Kathy Shaklee, Don Hamman, Cathy Mancuso, Mary Stewart, Jack Mahnk, Chris Bihler, Lynn Poizzi, Carole Joseph, Pat Akinbami, Eileen Minton, John Blake, Linda Clark, Mary Ann Fancher, Richard & Kathleen Garlapow, Lynn & Pete Gottler, Patti Migaj, Verna Peter, Lana Redell, Sue Robinson, Pat Shaw, Dick Snyder, and Lura & Keith Wilson.
   The Golden Age Center consistently runs 35 programs weekly, which would be impossible for the small staff to accomplish without such a great group of volunteers giving of their time and talents. The Meals on Wheels program for Grand Island is also administered through the Golden Age Center, and delivers meals to approximately 25 homebound, elderly or frail individuals five days a week; this also serves as a wellness check and a social opportunity where friendships are made and bonds formed. Thank you to these individuals, and many others not specifically listed, for their dedication and kindness.

Broadway Market Easter Visit - April 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Golden Age Center has a yearly trip to the Broadway Market during Easter week. This year, two trips were made due to high demand!

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser - April 2018


Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Golden Age Center had a pancake breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, March 24th. The kitchen crew did a great job of preparing the breakfast which included pancakes, egg bake, breakfast pastries, sausage, fruit cup and beverage. Many of the seniors brought their grandkids and even great grandkids. The younger set enjoyed face painting and decorating cookies to look like easter eggs.

Alzheimer's Association "Know the 10 Signs" - March 2018

   The Golden Age Center is hosting the Alzheimer's Association "Know the 10 Signs", early detection matters, Friday, April 6th from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. at the Golden Age Center. See flyer.
   Every 65 seconds across the United States, someone develops Alzheimer's disease. Early diagnosis is critical to ensure that families can plan for the future together, take advantage of available resources and take part in social engagement programs where they can interact and connect with others facing similar challenges. A major step toward ensuring a timely diagnosis is the recognition that someone may be having difficulties with memory and cognition.

Grand Island Challenge Plaque - March 2018

   The Golden Age Center was recently honored with a plaque to commemorate their $2,000+ donation to the Oishei Children's Hospital Grand Island Challenge. Grand Island was the only community in the area to raise over $25,000 to outfit a room at the hospital.

St. Patrick's Day Celebration - March 2018

Leprechauns from Left to Right: Pat Phillips, Trudi Shelp, Ed Shelp, Casey Galeza, Iris Galeza, Mary McClive & Ruth Landel.- GAC photo.

Winning leprechaun: Jen Mentor with winner Ruth Landel. - GAC photo.

Irish Step Dancers - Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Golden Age Center had a St. Patrick's Day party on Friday, March 16th. Members were invited to wear their best green attire, enjoy a Irish themed luncheon and watch Irish dancing group "Clann na Cara". Ruth Landel was the winner of the best costume.

Golden Age Center Travel Opportunities - March 2018

    The Golden Age Center is planning two trips in 2018. In May 2018 a trip to Washington, D.C. is planned. See flyer. In October 2018, a trip to Boston/Salem and Cape Ann. See flyer.

Valentine's Day Celebration - February 2018


Left: Valentine's made by students.   Sue and Ray Whitbeck married 65 years.

The over 50 club: Richard and Barbara Brzyski (55 years), Dave and Ann Rogers (52 years), Chuck and Nancy Tobe (51 years), Ray and Sue Whitbeck (6 5years) and Pat Akinbami (husband Sam couldn't make luncheon, 51 years).
Mary Stewart Photos.

    Valentines Day is always a special day at the Grand Island Senior Center as it has its "Sweetheart Luncheon" to recognize those couples who have been married 50 years or more. The couple married the longest were Ray and Sue Whitbeck who said their vows 65 years ago this year. Members who were in the over 50 club last year were treated to lunch. Two special prizes were given, one to whoever was wearing the most visible hearts and to the most creative ensemble. Special entertainment by "23 Skidoo" provided music.

Mardi Gras at Golden Age Center - February 2018


Left: Jennifer Menter and Grace Myhre (seated). Right: Lucy D'Alessandaro.

From left: Gail Sturm, Phyllis Martin, Jerri Benzing and Pat Kostenbauder.

Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Grand Island Senior Center celebrated Mardi Gras complete with shrimp and chicken jambalaya for lunch on Tuesday, February 13th. There was also a prize for the person wearing the most green, purple and gold. Those who wished could pick a mask from the "mask basket" to wear.

Early Signs of Alzheimer's Workshop - February 2018

    The Golden Age Center will host a workshop about the early signs of Alzheimer's on Friday, March 2nd from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., 3278 Whitehaven Road, "Know the 10 Signs". See flyer for details.

Students Vist Golden Age Center - February 2018

Mary Stewart Photos.

   Students from the 8th grade class at St. Stephen's School visited the Golden Age Center on Friday, February 2, 2018 to spend time and play a variety of games, iPad fun, and other fun surprises, with the Golden Age members. A special treat was a student who did magic which kept the golden agers in suspense, wondering, "how did he do that!"

GAC Member Finds Forever Friend - February 2018

   Look who got a forever home and a forever friend! It's Golden Age member Shirley Martin. After Shirley had expressed interest in wanting a dog as a companion and new family member, Golden Age staff member Natalie Grunzweig took Shirley to the Niagara County SPCA after work and picked up Max, a hound mix, age 5, to become Shirley's forever friend. Max is adjusting well to lots of treats, cuddles, and love in his new home. Special thanks to Natalie for taking the time to bring smiles and love to our seniors in our community.

Mitten Recognition Luncheon - January 2018

(clockwise from bottom left ) Jackie Kazmerczak, Sue Bognar, Jan Zaborowski, Shirley Norman, Jeri Benzing, Editha Germain, Don Hamman, Jean Schelegal, Betty Clayton, Lorraine Willcox, & Cathy Mancuso.

   Special thanks and recognition was given on Wednesday, January 17th to the dedicated & talented group of knitters and crocheters who helped with the 2017 Mitten Project. Graciously led & organized by Golden Age member Lorraine Willcox, the Mitten Project volunteers helped make 1,800 pairs of mittens, headbands, hats, & scarves to donate to over 30 local organizations & to people in need. Out of the 23 volunteers for this project, we thanked the following ladies & gentlemen who joined us for lunch: (clockwise from bottom left ) Jackie Kazmerczak, Sue Bognar, Jan Zaborowski, Shirley Norman, Jeri Benzing, Editha Germain, Don Hamman, Jean Schelegal, Betty Clayton, Lorraine Willcox, & Cathy Mancuso.

32nd Annual Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale - January 2018

   Think spring, and help Hospice Buffalo during their 32nd Annual Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale! The Town of Grand Island is participating by taking pre-sale orders at the Golden Age Center. The beautiful mixed standard bouquets are available for $8. There is also a special Tribute bouquet available for $30. All bouquets will be delivered to the Golden Age Center on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The order deadline is Wednesday, February 21 and payment is also due by Wednesday, February 21. Call (716) 773-9682 or stop by the Office to place your order. Every bunch truly makes a life better – in 31 years, Hospice Buffalo has sold over 576,000 bouquets and 50,000 Tribute bouquets, raising over $5.4 million for Hospice! Thank you for supporting Hospice Buffalo.