May 2024 Newsletter – Older Americans Month

Categories: Newsletters

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

If you know me at all, you know I love babies. But did you know I also love older adults? My favorite part of being executive director at Federal Hill House is the incredible intergenerational community that has sprung up here. And older adults play a critical role in shaping, building, and serving our whole community – whether through volunteerism, participation in senior center programming, or caring for one another with friendship and kindness.

May is Older Americans Month, designated by the Administration for Community Living as a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions, highlight aging trends, and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities. At FHH, we recognize the incredible value that life experience brings, especially for our older participants and volunteers. We appreciate the strengths that they bring as well as the very real difficulties that many of us face as we age.

Join us this month, and every month, to celebrate the aging members of our community and ensure that they always have a place where they belong.



Kimberly Fernandez

Executive Director

Spotlight: FHH Senior Center Combats Loneliness and Food Insecurity, According to Participant Survey

At Federal Hill House, participant input and feedback is essential as we continuously look for ways to improve our programs and services. In March, senior center coordinator Fortunata Correia surveyed attendees of FHH’s senior meal site, exercise programs, and other events for older adults.

A striking takeaway from the sample 37 responses is that 50% of respondents reported that if they do not eat at the senior center, they are missing a meal – highlighting the importance of the senior meal site in alleviating food insecurity amongst older adults in our community. Additionally, 67.6% reported that they often or sometimes experience feelings of loneliness, and 100% reported that coming to the senior center can frequently or sometimes ease these feelings of loneliness and increase their perceived level of social support.


These two pieces of feedback, along with others, remind us how essential food and community are for health and well-being, especially as we age. Do you want to be part of this community? We are happy to welcome older adults to participate in our senior meal site, exercise, and programs, and we welcome volunteers of all ages as well. Volunteers can help serve lunch, lead an activity or craft, donate prizes for bingo, or refer older adults in the neighborhood to our center. Even with the smallest of gestures, we can together make our senior center the best it can possibly be!

Wisdom, Experience, & Professional Development help Foster Grandparents Positively Impact Children

If you’ve ever been to our 9 Courtland Street location on a Thursday morning, you can’t miss the lively gatherings of our Americorps Seniors Foster Grandparents. The Foster Grandparent program serves a dual purpose: to engage Americans 55 years and older in volunteer service and to provide one-on-one support to children to improve their academic, social, or emotional development.

The Foster Grandparent (FGP) program at Federal Hill House has 42 active volunteers who work directly with young children at local community centers, daycares, and schools. FHH offers bi-weekly professional development sessions, during which FHH staff and volunteers facilitate workshops to teach and reinforce valuable skills that help FGP’s effectively work with children in the community.

This vibrant community has openings for new members! Income-eligible FGP’s also receive a $4 per hour stipend for their service, and can volunteer up to 25 hours per week. Reach out below if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent.

A Greater Purpose in Retirement

In our upcoming Impact Report, you will meet John and Tracy, who volunteer at our Swiss Street food pantry as part of the Americorps Seniors RSVP Program. Retired people are often looking for ways to stay connected to their community and support their neighbors based on what they are passionate about. Driven by concerns of growing food insecurity in Rhode Island and across the country, the couple came to FHH looking to offer a helping hand. Now, almost two years later, they have become a major piece of the puzzle in operating the Swiss Street food pantry. “It’s gratifying work, but it’s more than that,” says Tracy. “You make connections, and it’s nice too – especially in retirement – it’s nice to be a part of something bigger.”

But don’t worry if volunteering in a food pantry is not it for you – there are many other opportunities to get involved! RSVP also recruits older adults to volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Senior Meal Site, School Age Child Care, and partner organizations in the community. Reach out today to learn more about how you can get involved!

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