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New Briarcliff Organization Set to Assist Seniors

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Rather than seeing elderly residents heading off to retirement communities, Briarcliff Manor’s Sara Vescio is helping promote an alternative.

Vescio said elderly residents are being empowered to stay in their homes as they grow older. While residents have been informally active for a few years promoting the idea and assisting with Aging in Place , a new volunteer organization called Community Helping Hands is prepping for a big kick-off from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 8 at Ossining’s Landmark Diner.

“The idea is that they are a part of our community and we want to help stay a part of our community,” Vescio said. “The problem is most people won’t admit they need these services. So we’re hoping that if more people find out about this program, they’ll be more inclined to want to be a part of it.”

The organization has partnered with Project Relief, a group of volunteers from churches in Briarcliff, Scarborough and Peekskill dedicated to community assistance projects . Project Relief Director Peter Clements said the group recently completed a few projects in Ossining and Briarcliff Manor.

“We helped one senior in Ossining with a weatherization project on her home,” Clements said. “We also helped a resident in Briarcliff Manor with a huge landscaping project. We had a lot of volunteers for both projects and it was a tremendous effort on everyone’s part.”

Residents of Ossining and Briarcliff who are interested in learning more about the new program are welcome at the event, which will include food, refreshments and prizes. Reservations must also be made by calling the group at (914) 346-7773.

Ossining resident Laurie Sterlacci, who also helps out as secretary of the board of Community Helping Hands, said the project is about helping neighbors.

“We are neighbors who have banded together as volunteers and we are dedicated to helping older residents stay active and independent in the neighborhoods they love rather than having to relocate to a retirement community, assisted living facility or nursing home,” Sterlacci said in a press release.

Membership dues for CHH are $60 per year for an individual and $75 per year for a two-person household. CHH is a “grassroots organization created, funded and led by community residents to develop aging in place services and activities for residents 65-plus in Briarcliff and Ossining,” according to the release.

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