On Friday, March 27, staff and program participants gathered in the Astoria campus to celebrate the first year since Goodwill NY-NJ’s Senior Champions program began providing services to older individuals with developmental disabilities.

Goodwill NY-NJ launched the Senior Champions program to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities who are 50 or older. Many of these individuals met while working at Goodwill or receiving training to work in the community. As they aged, some of them decided to retire from the workforce but wished to continue to be in contact with peers and be active in their community.

In response to this need, Goodwill staff developed the Senior Champions program to offer activities to prevent isolation, including music, art, zumba, and cooking classes.

In a previous blog post we introduced you to Angel Nogue, a sixty-two year-old man with an intellectual disability, who is a founder participant of the Senior Champions program. His feedback was instrumental in creating a program that would fulfill the needs of seniors with developmental disabilities.

Today, we introduce you to another Senior Champions participant, Norman, who last December celebrated thirty years since he came to work at Goodwill’s Astoria Work Center. There he learned and performed many tasks, including hanging and tagging clothes for sale at Goodwill stores, packing, gift wrapping, assembling, labeling envelopes and much more.

IMG_0926Norman’s bubbly attitude brings joy and smiles to staff and participants alike. He displays an independent personality and gets involved in any activity that staff presents him. Norman enjoys dancing, art, and music. He can copy a dance move immediately after watching it.

View photos of participants of Goodwill’s Senior Champions program during the event to celebrate the 1st year anniversary here.

And check out a video of a recent music session below:

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