Older adult volunteers make positive impact on Norris Square Senior Community Center in North Philly

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Art of Aging: Older adult volunteers make positive impact on Norris Square Senior Community Center in North Philadelphia
April is National Volunteer Month and some older adult volunteers are making a difference at their senior community center in North Philadelphia.

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pilar Vazquez started volunteering at the Norris Square Senior Community Center four years ago.

"I like the working in the kitchen," says Vazquez. "I like to serve the food for the people."

Paid Sponsor Partnership: Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

Now, she spends more than 20 hours a week there.

"Pilar comes every day," says Elizabeth Morales Rosa, Program Coordinator for the Norris Square Senior Community Center.

The center serves breakfast and lunch for members, and everything is prepared and cooked in-house. PCA funds the congregate meal program at the center to provide vital nutrition for its members.

"Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, for 50 years, has centered its mission on enriching the lives and preserving the dignity of older adults and people with disabilities," says Bill Conallen, Public Relations Specialist for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

"The seniors, they really need it," says Morales Rosa. "Thanks to PCA, we actually can run the center."

Norris Square Senior Community Center serves a large Latino population and is a fully bilingual center.

Vazquez says she is happy to help at the center because she considers those she serves as "family."

"It's a meal that everybody sit down together and eat together," says Morales Rosa. "So when they come in here, we try to do like a family environment."

There are 42 volunteers doing a variety of jobs, from running programs to gardening.

"I like to plant," says Angel Rosado, a volunteer at Norris Square Senior Community Center. "To hear the birds, we feel peace in there."

They're all valued volunteers, but every April two are recognized during National Volunteer Month.

This year, it's Pilar Vazquez and Sonia Segui.

Morales Rosa says Segui helps decorate the center and was chosen to be recognized because "she does it from her heart."

"They feel like - that is my family," says Morales Rosa.

"A lot of older adults, and people with disabilities, drastically need community and connection, and volunteers help keep the engine of our senior community centers going," says Conallen.

If you'd like to volunteer, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit PCAcares.org.

"This is the place to be," says Morales Rosa.

For more information:

Norris Square Senior Community Center: Facebook.com/NSACC2121

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging: PCAcares.org

To Volunteer at PCA: PCAcares.org/contact-us

Norris Square Senior Community Center
2121 N. Howard Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19122