The mission of Washington Heights Community Services, Inc. (WHCS) is to promote successful aging and meet the needs of the well and frail elderly with concrete services.
STAR is committed to generating social capital by enriching our members’ lives, maximizing their independence, and strengthening supportive linkages among seniors. Often a newcomer to STAR spots a center member who lives downstairs from her but to whom she has never spoken. During the course of the next week the neighbors form lasting bonds while sharing nutritious meals, participating in the same English class, having their blood pressure read, going on shopping trips, or traveling to City Hall to advocate for legislation to benefit seniors.
STAR originated in 1970 as a neighborhood storefront providing senior citizens with information and referrals, emergency food, and opportunities for social action. Within four years we had evolved into a multi-purpose senior center. Until 2009 we delivered nutritious meals to dozens of our homebound elderly neighbors every weekday. Recently STAR has inaugurated such wellness activities as a walking club, yoga, and fall prevention. Over the years our agency has been widely recognized as an effective advocate for seniors.
Our Members and Staff:
Participation in STAR is open to any New York City resident aged 50 or older. Our current membership exceeds 1670; an average of 165 seniors come to the center every weekday. Most of our participants live north of 155th Street in Manhattan. Because almost 75 percent of our members are recent immigrants from the Dominican Republic or elsewhere in Latin America, STAR’s staff is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. Our remaining members are Greek, Irish, Italian, Armenian, and Afro-American.
STAR’s staff of ten – eight full-time and two part-time employees – bring stringent credentials mandated by the City of New York and regularly update their skills. Nearly all staff members live or have lived in Washington Heights and are familiar with the needs of local seniors. We are most fortunate that forty of the center’s members volunteer as program aides.
Hours of Operation:
STAR Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Congregate Lunch: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM