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SDOP grant will help Brooklyn-based senior organization keep its members informed

Age Friendly Central Brooklyn Inc. helps empower older adults to live active, rich and fulfilling lives

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Age Friendly Central Brooklyn Inc. has received a grant from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People to help produce and distribute its monthly publication. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The Age Friendly Central Brooklyn Inc. project (AFCBI) in Brooklyn, New York, has been awarded a grant by the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. It’s one of several projects SDOP will celebrate on March 13 as part of SDOP Sunday.

 AFCBI’s mission is to empower adults 62 years of age and older to live an active, rich and fulfilling life by engaging in activities that meet their social, economic, cultural and civic interests. A community-based organization, AFCBI is led by older adult volunteers. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that its participants both control and benefit from the program activities. Members are well-connected to the community, which in turn helps maximize the effectiveness of its programs.

AFCBI’s main audience is predominantly retired women of African descent, age 62 or older, living in central Brooklyn. Special attention is given to people living in isolation and those with mobility issues. There are four cohort groups that develop AFCBI programs. Those four cohorts work to enable these goals:

  • Advocacy
  • Economic empowerment
  • Intergenerational inclusion
  • Social inclusion

The group’s focus for 2022 is strengthening the ability of older adults to use technology. Donna Williams, AFCBI ambassador and secretary, says this project will improve the quality of life and address the social isolation of its members.

“Increasing the digital literacy of our community so that older adults feel more comfortable using technology can not only help connect family and friends, but it can also help facilitate doctor telehealth visits, ordering groceries and provide safe online banking,” Williams said.

Other opportunities that AFCBI provides for its members include:

  • Publishing “Third Chapter Living,” AFCBI’s monthly publication.
  • Annual Active Aging Week, a weeklong series of activities promoting the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Blue Zone cooking classes to encourage healthy eating (examples include preparing healthy meals and snacks).
  • A Movement is Medicine fitness classes designed to get older adults moving.
  • Exercise for strength and fun (such as walking and line dancing).
  • Monthly reading by AFCBI volunteers to students in grades K-3 attending local public schools.
  • Field trips to City Hall and the state capital, Albany, to advocate for older adult services.
  • Exploring cultural places in the community and beyond.
  • Wellness workshops on mental health, dental health and COVID-19.

“Today we have a growing membership by offering an array of activities and services to promote healthy aging and longevity,” says Williams. “Each month we publish ‘Third Chapter Living,’ a publication that highlights the issues of the day as it relates to aging.”

Age Friendly Central Brooklyn Inc. is working during 2022 to expand the ability of Brooklyn’s older adults to use technology. (Contributed photo)

Williams says “Third Chapter Living” is a way to engage in open dialogue with peers about living a complete and healthy lifestyle.

“We present real stories from the community, and featured in each edition is an article promoting health and wellness for older adults, as well as an affirmation, which we know offers hope and helps bolster and empower our membership,” Williams said.

Working with SDOP

AFCBI’s funding has been irregular over the years, so they’ve been forced to be creative by partnering with groups in order to provide services. SDOP’s support was a “lifeline,” according to Williams, as it allowed AFCBI to distribute “Third Chapter Living,” the group’s primary connection to its membership, both digitally and in print.

“We were looking for a grant to support the printing of ‘Third Chapter Living,’ which has evolved from a newsletter into more of a magazine,” said Williams. “We launched it in January 2020, and then COVID-19 changed everything. The notion of ‘self-development of people’ speaks to our mission. There is synergy between what SDOP represents and what AFCBI wants to accomplish.”

This story is part of the SDOP Sunday Resource, an annual guide to the work of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. It is published in advance of the celebration of SDOP Sunday, which will be celebrated in Presbyterian churches across the United States on March 13. Click here to learn more about SDOP and SDOP Sunday.

The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People is one of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing

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