Housing for all the People   


Selfhelp Community Services Ribbon Cutting  for its Licensed Home Care Services Agency

(L to R):
Nancy Kelly Sullivan, Managing Director of Selfhelp Community Services’ Long Island Licensed Home Care Agency; Viviana Russell, Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman; Howard Kimmel, founder of Kimmel Housing Development Foundation; Stuart C. Kaplan, Selfhelp CEO; Nancy Barreno, Nassau County Legislative Aide; [far right]: Legislator Siela A. Bynoe.

Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Johanna Friedl, who turns 91 this week, spoke about how much home care means to her.

Selfhelp Community Services hosted a festive ribbon cutting at its new location June 2 for its Licensed Home Care Services Agency (498 Union Avenue; Westbury, NY) to serve Nassau County. More than 50 elected officials, VIPs, home health aides and clients were on hand to celebrate at the open house and to preview the new state-of-the-art training facility that will help meet increased demand for home care on Long Island and help train qualified individuals for new job opportunities as home health aides in the area.

The opening of the new office was facilitated by the Selfhelp/Kimmel partnership and collaboration that began in 2013, based on a shared commitment to provide affordable housing and services to seniors and other at-risk individuals on Long Island. Selfhelp CEO Stuart C. Kaplan and Howard Kimmel, founder of the Kimmel Housing Development Foundation, led the ribbon cutting, with participation and remarks from Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor; Viviana Russell, Councilwoman from the Town of North Hempstead; Legislator Siela A. Bynoe and County Legislative Aide Nancy Barreno.

Mrs. Johanna Friedl, a Holocaust survivor and home care client of Selfhelp, spoke emotionally about how much the care, companionship and activities arranged by Selfhelp have meant to her. “All I have to do is call. And, I really appreciate the coffee house gatherings sponsored by Selfhelp,” explained Mrs. Friedl. Selfhelp has a special division, Nazi Victim Services Program, that has become the largest provider of services to Holocaust survivors in North America. The group also arranges monthly gatherings for survivors, in addition to providing home care and other services needed. A cake was cut in celebration of Mrs. Friedl’s 91st birthday this week.

A congratulatory citation from the Nassau County Legislature was presented to Selfhelp, applauding the organization’s presence and participation in the community.

Decade-of-Service awards were presented to Selfhelp’s distinguished home health aides. The demand for qualified home health aides is on the rise as New York’s senior population increases and people become more aware that home care may enable more individuals to continue to live healthfully, with independence and dignity in their own homes. Nancy Kelly Sullivan, Managing Director of Selfhelp Community Services’ Long Island Licensed Home Care Agency, provided a preview of Selfhelp’s Nassau County “Be The One” home health aide recruitment campaign which looks for candidates willing to build high quality home care skills during training as well as to demonstrate compassion and a sense of personal commitment to their clients as part of their career. The tone of this commitment is evident in Selfhelp’s “Be The One” pledge which Ms. Sullivan shared with the audience:

Selfhelp Community Services
Our Home Health Aide “Be The One” Pledge

“I want to Be The One who lends my hand when you thought there was no one to help you.

I want to Be The One to use my skills to support you on your journey to better health.

I want to Be The One who keeps the assignments that I accept in order to provide you with continuity of care.

I want to Be The One who treats you with respect as I understand your challenges, cultures and ways in which you are different than I.

I want to Be The One to be your legs to help you walk and be your eyes to help you see and be your voice to be heard.

I Am The One.”

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