2003-03-08 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting With Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey,
Democratic District Leader

I had the honor, as the founder of Trinity Senior Services, of being named this week as the New Yorker of the Week by Channel 1 News. Trinity Senior Services works with approximately 2,000 seniors in the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

Geographic isolation, a fixed income and a lack of accessible services are severe barriers faced by our seniors. To meet these needs Trinity Senior Services has established three programs: (a) van service program: (b) intergenerational after school program and (c) educational recreational services.

Trinity Senior Services promotes positive growth and development in a safe and secure environment. It expands the opportunity for seniors to participate in a wide variety of activities, to share talents and experiences and to socialize with one's peers.

These activities empower seniors to improve their lives, enhance their dignity, support their independence and encourage their involvement with the community.

The New York 1 News story highlighted our van program. It is a 14 passenger van with one motorized wheel chair lift. The van is available to senior groups. As Virginia Shea, an outstanding leader of the seniors noted on New York 1, the van has enabled us to take the seniors to the United Nations, Ellis Island, Museums and the Botanical Gardens. She stated "we travel all over thanks to Geraldine".

Frances Abbracciamento, a vivacious, outgoing and spirited entrepreneur who is the chairwoman of our upcoming fundraiser for the Trinity programs, highlighted the fact that the van "takes us shopping, to the theater and places that we would not go if we did not have the bus".

Jeanne Beryl Metz (accompanied by her daughter, Johana Metz) who are energetic and talented professional horticulturists enjoy going on the van. They were spotlighted on Channel 1 as eager shoppers who gave new meaning to the phrase "shop until you drop".

I started Trinity Senior Services in the Spring of 1994 when I discovered that there were many seniors in our area who received no services but who really needed them. I decided that someone should bring these sorely needed services to our seniors and that person was me. Initially I wrote grants and submitted requests to anyone offering services. I was thrilled in 1996 when I received a letter that I had been granted orchestra seat tickets for the seniors to see the Broadway performance of "Cats".  Once I had these great orchestra seats, I needed to find transportation for the seniors to go to Manhattan.  This highlighted the fact that seniors in our area need safe and reliable transportation.

Fund raising for the Trinity Senior programs has been my responsibility.  It is a very long and difficult process to identify appropriate grant agencies, research and write grants and to actually obtain funding.

I have worked very closely with our elected officials to secure funding for the seniors.  Councilman Joe Addabbo, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Senator Malcolm Smith have made obtaining funds for seniors a top priority. Councilman Al Stabile was a sig­­­­­­­­­nif­­­icant force in developing our senior programs. If you have a group of 14 seniors and would like to use the Trinity Services van please call us at (718) 474-1641 between 11 A.M. and 4 P.M., Monday through Friday to reserve the van.

Our fundraiser for the van program and the intergenerational after school program will be held on Wednesday, April 30th at 12 Noon at Russo's on the Bay. 

Tickets are $40.00 each.  Please call (718) 474-1641 to reserve your tables at the luncheon.

Dr. Geraldine Chapey New York 1 New Yorker of the week.

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