Housing for all the People   


Virtual Senior Center 

Launches in Nassau County

We are delighted to announce the official launch of the Long Island Virtual Senior Center – a new collaboration of the Selfhelp/Kimmel nonprofit partnership – and a high tech innovation designed to help reduce the crippling emotional and physical effects of social isolation among homebound seniors.

We owe the Long Island VSC’s speedy development to the tireless work of our Kimmel and Selfhelp team members, to a planning grant from the Long Island Community Foundation, a game-changing $100,000 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, and additional critical support from the Manhasset Community Fund and Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies. (read the press release)

The UUCSR hosted our celebration which drew attendees from a wide range of community groups, elected officials, and our very own VSC participants who told the audience live on a giant screen, just what a difference the VSC has made in their lives.

Long Island’s very first VSC participant, Jamy Kanas Santoro, wowed the crowd in person with an articulate and heartfelt description of what the VSC means to her. “This has the potential to be a great, great thing,” she explained.“ I think it will actually save lives!” She also gave Howard Kimmel, Kimmel’s legendary founder, a personal demonstration of the VSC homepage and offered a rundown of her favorite classes.

We were fortunate so many of UUCSR’s leaders and members could attend. UUCSR President Nancy Chen Baldwin explained the criteria for qualifying for their Large Grants program. She added, “The grant to the Virtual Senior Center demonstrates our congregational commitment to improve the lives of those historically underserved. The VSC is a very creative way to respond to the needs of our elders -- so many who are homebound and alone.”

We were elated that so many elected officials turned out to see the VSC demonstration.

"This is an amazing, amazing accomplishment,” Judi Bosworth, Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, commented on the launch of the Selfhelp/Kimmel Virtual Senior Center. Supervisor Bosworth has long been a champion of technology to aid seniors. We look forward to working with her and others looking for effective ways to enable seniors to age in place with independence and dignity.

The initial curriculum of local live classes will be hosted by the Glen Cove Senior Center, the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills and the Magnolia Senior Center of Long Beach. The Long Island based seniors will have access to all VSC classes initiated by the NYC/Queens, Chicago, San Diego and Baltimore VSC partners, which offer classes on wellness, self-esteem, special events from the Guggenheim and MoMA, musical performances, current events discussions, computer skills classes and more.

Seniors’ residences are being outfitted with a touchscreen, VSC-enabled computer and assistive technology. Hardware is being installed, training provided and technical support made available so that the seniors can easily take part in live classes and connect with the Internet for a range of other options.

It was gratifying to see and even feel the excitement for the VSC – an idea that seems to attract and unite so many different groups with the common goal of making new chances, activities and friendships possible for homebound seniors everywhere.

Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center has previously been awarded grants from AARP Foundation, the Consumer Electronics Association Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York