Perlman: David Miller and Holocaust Survivor Portraits

A Testament for All Time

By Michael Perlman

Jean Greenstein was born in 1924 in Velky Sevlus, Czechoslovakia. Hid family was transported to Auschwitz, where all but Jean and his sister perished. Jean passed away in 2018.

Rego Park resident David Miller, 42, is not only a professional photographer, but a local hero.

He is the founder of the diverse David Miller Studios and his most timeless work results from photographing Holocaust survivors.

“My Holocaust Survivor Portraits aim to teach people about the Holocaust through stories and to honor these survivors, recounting the often-incomprehensible adversities they suffered, and paying visual tribute to the lives they have rebuilt,” Miller said.

Additionally, his goal is to remind the Jewish community among others that thousands of survivors are still alive, but many are struggling financially and/or emotionally.

Miller launched his Holocaust Survivor Portraits project in 2011, and to date, he feels honored to have met and photographed over 100 survivors. He also bears family ties to the Holocaust.

“My maternal grandmother escaped and fled Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport to the United Kingdom, where she settled and raised her family,” Miller said.

Sonja Rosenwald, Survivor. Los Angeles, CA

Miller was raised in a small town named Sharon, Ma. just south of Boston. In 2009, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he originated his event photography studio. David Miller Studios offers wedding, event, and portrait photography (family and headshot) services, as well as album design and videography.

“Our work is photographically unique, and we strive to produce images that are truly photojournalistic, artistic, and meaningful,” Miller said.

In 2011, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles launched a bi-weekly column, profiling Holocaust survivors in the Greater Los Angeles community.

He reminisced, “I was fortunate to become the photographer responsible for capturing those images, and I was also fortunate to work within the Jewish community photographing events.”

He began developing an audience after sharing his compositions on Facebook, and after networking in various ways, his talent received recognition. “They pitched the project, and I was thrilled to become involved,” he recalled.

To Miller, both the camera and the photographic image mount to great value in society.

He explained, “Through exhibition and education, images reflect personal meaning and the power of telling a story and the freedom to tell that story in whatever way you choose. I became a photographer because just like poetry is limitless in its creativity, so is photography, where opportunities to capture subject matters bear no boundaries. The camera offers me that creative freedom.”

Although he sees many sights through the lens, above all he sees “life composed in the moment.”

“Of course, I see light, shadow, color, and shape, but these are only technical attributes to what is needed to master the camera and proper exposure,” he continued.

On many occasions, Holocaust survivors share their stories when Miller forever preserves a moment of their time, but most of all their legacy. One of many stories is that of Jean Greenstein, who was born in July 1924 in Velky Sevlus, Czechoslovakia, but passed away in February 2018 in Los Angeles.

“Jean’s father was a dentist, a WWI veteran, and a prominent community member,” Miller explained. “When the German army took control of Hungary in 1944, Jean’s father attempted to rescue the family by going into hiding, but it was too late.”

Miller said, “they were transported to Auschwitz, where all but Jean and his sister perished. Jean hid in a basement until captured, and subsequently escaped and joined the underground resistance in Budapest in the guise of an SS officer and distributed schutzpass to people being shipped to Auschwitz, thereby allowing them to escape. After the war, he fought for Israel’s independence.”

When Miller met Jean, he knew he was in the presence of a hero. “Jean served in one of the first Israeli military brigades, the Haganah – Palmach unit fighting for Jerusalem, as pictured in an image that he was holding. Remember this was a man who joined the underground resistance and posed as an SS Soldier, saving countless Jewish lives. Please remember Jean as a hero, a father, and a pillar of strength and inspiration. Tears frothed into my eyes listening to his story.”

As a photographer and humanitarian, it is significant for Holocaust stories to be documented and shared through photos and text.

Photographer David Miller of Rego Park

“The true power of my Survivor Portraits as a body of work is drawn from the subject’s individuality when being photographed, and their willingness to share experiences so near and distant to their heart,” Miller said. “The photographs you see are undoubtedly only minute representations of the individuals and to their status as “Survivors,” a term to which Holocaust memories rip apart lives and recall years of emotional pain and lost loved ones. It is my hope that this project grows with an evolving interest to teach what must never be forgotten.”

Backtracking, after Miller graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he pursued a corporate ladder position in the financial world, and in his mid-twenties, he began exploring photography as a hobby.

His first camera was a Canon EOS Rebel 2000.

He reminisced, “I began shooting with film, mostly nature and landscapes, since I love the outdoors. Quicker than I thought, I would share my work, and people said that my pictures were quite good. Even though I always had a savvy knack for being able to self-motivate and sell myself, I thank those people, since their encouragement pushed me at times.”

Today, he uses a variety of cameras, which varies based on context. His professional rig includes a Canon Mark IV Digital SLR and two Fuji Mirrorless Advanced digital models, the xh-1 and the x-pro2. He only uses high-end professional glass, to ensure superior optical functionality.

One must wonder if anyone in Miller’s family influenced his career as a photographer, and if he takes much inspiration from elder generation notable photographers.

He said, “No one in my family pursued a career in photography, and even though my parents had medical careers, they were always supportive of my choice as a photographer.

“Julius is holding a list of prisoners killed in the crematorium at Auschwitz”

Two photographers that influenced me most are Steve McCurry, a renowned National Geographic photojournalist and portrait photographer, and Ansel Adams, who is undoubtedly one of the most passionate landscape photographers.

They are masters of their craft, and I respect their talents immensely. Other notables include James Nachtwey, a prolific photojournalist and war photographer whose harrowing images inform, educate, and influence societies and politics worldwide.”

Miller’s photography sparked the attention of cultural institutions. In January 2014, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust exhibited 29 of his Holocaust Survivor Portraits.

“The exhibit stood as a gallery of living history, as each of these survivors personally witnessed one of the definitive moments of the 20th century; Adolf Hitler’s genocidal campaign against the Jews of Europe,” he said. “The exhibit included an accompanying catalog with the stories that appeared in the Jewish Journal. Most of the survivors who were profiled waited decades after World War II to tell their story. Some of them have never before told their story outside of their immediate families, but all tell important stories of devastating heartbreak, brutality, miracles, and the arduous rebuilding of broken lives.”

Since elder generations are passing on, time is of the essence to further develop the Holocaust Survivor Portraits project by keeping the spirit alive of all survivors, as well as memorializing the victims who perished.

“Expanding the project means getting out there and photographing survivors, as well as accompanying truthful words behind evocative portraits,” Miller said.

To schedule a Holocaust Survivor Portraits visit, Miller accepts business calls at 732-806-1847 or emails at [email protected]. He also aspires to publish a book, reflective of his long-term photography project and the stories that unfold, but welcomes funding assistance and a connection with a publishing house.

Follow Miller at www.facebook.com/Survivorfolio and at www.instagram.com/holocaust_survivor_portraits

Ruhling: The History Guy on the Soccer Team

There are two questions that everyone always asks Chris Minty:

Why is a Scotsman devoting his career to studying Early American history?

Why is such a serious academic so keen on spending his spare time playing football, or soccer as we call it in the States?

For the answers, we have to do what Chris, a documentary editor historian who literally gets to hold history in his hands, does on a daily basis: search and annotate the past to put the present in perspective.

Chris, long and lean and happily sleep-deprived because of his 4-month-old daughter, started his history in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.

If you didn’t know this, his subtle Scottish accent would give him away.

“I have always been interested in soccer and history,” he says. “My parents used to take me to historic sites, mainly castles.”

By the time he was in high school, Chris was so fascinated with the past that he knew it would play a large role in his future.

He felt the same way, it should be noted, about soccer, which he spent a lot of time playing.

In the beginning, Chris opened his mind to all kinds of history.

“I wanted to sample as much as possible,” he says.

His focused shifted to America, however, when he took a survey course in U.S. history at the University of Stirling, where he earned his bachelor’s degree with first-class honors as well as his doctorate.

“All the while I was studying, I was playing soccer,” he says.

His research on the origins of loyalism in New York prior to the Revolution led him to visit not only the Big Apple but also Michigan, Virginia and California.

He made trips to the New-York Historical Society, The New York Public Library and to the state archives and library in Albany.

“My first trip here, I stayed with a friend who had a fellowship with the New-York Historical Society,” he says. “And he gave me the tour of life. I thought the city was brilliant, and I loved the subway.”

So enchanted was he with the city that, like his friend, he applied for a one-year fellowship with the historical society, which came with a faculty position at The New School.

While he was waiting, he took teaching positions in Scotland, and of course, continued to spend substantial time on the soccer field.

He did, indeed, get the fellowship, and in August 2014, he came back to New York for what he thought would be only a 12-month stay.

But he didn’t know that he would fall in love.

As it turned out, the woman he married, Heather, also worked for the historical society; they had been introduced but didn’t pay much attention to each other until Tinder threw them together.

“We each recognized each other on the app,” Chris says. “We went out for coffee and started dating.”

The fellowship ended, but their relationship didn’t.

“I wanted to stay,” he says. “And even though I was applying for and interviewing for jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, I was looking for almost anything to stay.”

Things all came together when he got an offer to be an assistant editor of The Adams Papers Editorial Project at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where he co-edited volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence.

“It was exciting – Heather and I got married – and I got to handle and study original documents not only from members of the Adams family but also from the founding fathers – Jefferson, Madison and even Hamilton,” he says. “And after a break, I started to seriously play soccer again.”

Chris joined Kendall Wanderers Football Club, one of the oldest amateur teams in Massachusetts. He also managed two of its six teams and served as the club’s president.

“I felt as though I had rolled back the years,” he says, adding that he got to play all over the state. “I loved it – I can be moody when I lose, but we didn’t lose.”

 It was the pandemic that brought Chris back to New York.

“My father-in-law got Covid early on – he’s fine now – but he was very ill, so in December 2020 we moved back,” he says. “We wanted to start a family and didn’t want to do it in Massachusetts, where neither of us had family.”

Chris took a remote job with the University of Virginia’s Center for Digital Editing and began playing for New York International Football Club. He also manages the club’s reserve team and coaches both.

“I probably spend 20 to 25 hours a week with the team,” he says, adding that it’s like having a part-time job. “I absolutely love it even though it takes me days to recover from playing a game.”

Somehow with all this going on, he found time to write American Demagogues: The Origins of Loyalism in Manhattan, a book that will be published later this year.

Since the birth of Isla – she arrived, he delightedly points out, on Nov. 30, 2021, St. Andrew’s Day, which honors the patron saint of Scotland – Chris’ life has become even busier.

As a historian, he’s not accustomed to looking ahead, but there are things that he’s certain of.

He’ll keep his university job – “it’s a lot of fun” – and he’ll continue tearing up the soccer field.

“I’m 34, but I have a few years left at the level I’m in,” he says. “I’ll graduate to the over-30s, then the over-40s teams.”

In the meantime, he has the prospect of a team history project. The league, the oldest amateur one in the country, celebrates its centenary next year.

“I’m already talking to them about what I can do to bring historical context to the anniversary,” he says.

Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at [email protected];  @nancyruhling; nruhling on Instagram, nancyruhling.com,  astoriacharacters.com.

OP-ED: LGA Renovations and the AirTrain

By Richard Khuzami, president of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association has had the opportunity to weigh in on the Renovation of the LGA Airport since the beginning of the process, and we have been greatly impressed by the results.

We now have a world class facility, which helps Queens and NYC look towards a future with positive economic and quality of life growth for all.

What still needs to be addressed is the logistics of efficient and quick movement of passengers to and from LGA. To this end, the Airtrain light rail was proposed, questioned, and is now being readdressed.

Our position has been consistent. We are in favor of using the existing JFK Airtrain Hub in Jamaica.

Important aspects to consider:

Ridership should be the primary concern. All the other issues all point back to the effect on ridership. The more people that have direct access to the light rail network the better. This is a holistic system for the entire region! Not just North and West Queens, or the UES of Manhattan.

OANA prefers the hub at Jamaica because the largest number of subway lines (A, E, J, Z) can feed the system, both branches of the LIRR intersect, and new possibilities for air connections can be realized, with reliable transit between airports. If a stop is included at Willets Point, then the 7-line can be included.

This would have the added advantage of using existing monorail cars, maintenance, and storage facilities of the JFK Airtrain.

Another advantage: Individuals who reside around LGA airport – such as Western Queens communities like Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Flushing – should be provided access to the Airtrain. This way they can be provided a viable direct public service to JFK, avoiding the traffic mess at the Van Wyck. And the same for residents around JFK Airport going to LGA.

The other hubs that the MTA has mentioned in this survey do not have all the connections of Jamaica, especially between airports. Therefore, we prefer Jamaica.
Many locals have focused on extending the “N” line. However, the N does not service Penn Station or Grand Central Station directly, people with luggage would have to deal with the 59th st station, with its many stairs, and the LIRR does not intersect. The “N” would only be good for local residents of Astoria and the UES and those who live directly on the N line; No one else in the city. Also, it would have to deal with the infrastructure of the Botany Bay Water Treatment Plant. And eminent domain would probably have to be utilized.

From our standpoint the only way the N would be viable is if the IBX connected with the N line, greatly expanding its network. However, as you may know, current plans for the IBX exclude Astoria and the N line. It ends in Jackson Heights. We strongly want IBX service to Astoria, and if provided we would reconsider N service to LGA.
We are strongly in favor of Ferry service to the Marine Air Terminal at LGA. However, in general, we need to make sure that all ferry landings have first and last-mile capabilities, for instance, shuttle service. We would also like to see another landing at the north side of Hallets Peninsula, where it could be used as a transfer between the Astoria Line and the LGA line and other northern stops.

While not as important at the Marine Air Terminal, because of existing inter-terminal shuttles, all other landings throughout the Ferry system must have a connection to other local public transit. This is well beyond just an airport issue. This is an existential need for the long-term viability of the ferry system.

Also: for both the ferry and light rail, it might be interesting to provide check-in and boarding instructions onboard to allow for more seamless movement of passengers when in the airport itself.

We have the opportunity to create a world-class transit system in NYC and the surrounding area. Let’s make sure we take advantage.

Pol Position: Fixing broken housing policies

Some of it was to be expected

When emergency legislation that placed a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic expired, so did the patience of several NYC landlords, who flooded the courts with thousands of eviction lawsuits between February and March.

Since the moratorium expired in January, more than 13,000 new eviction cases have been filed, adding to a backlog of more than 200,000 pending cases that were put on hold.

Because of this The Legal Aid Society and NYLAG have stated that due to the exorbitant demand, attorneys will not be able to take new cases in Queens for the month of April, potentially leaving tenants to appear without proper representation.

But the issue doesn’t just stop in Queens. Legal Aid says it expects to reach full capacity in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan soon unless action is taken to address the court’s overload of eviction cases.

The simple solution

Legal service groups suggest that if the New York State Office of Court Administration were to cap eviction cases at a reasonable volume, it would help to ensure eligible tenants are given adequate representation.

“We are disappointed that OCA has not only refused to acknowledge this post-pandemic demand, but is seemingly okay with calendaring cases where tenants appear without legal representation, essentially gutting New York’s historic Right To Counsel initiative,” Adriene Holder, attorney-in-charge of the civil practice at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement. “It would be irresponsible and unethical for us to continue to take new cases while our staff is overwhelmed.”

Tenants put at-risk

NYS Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recently adopted $220 billion budget included funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which was developed to assist low- and moderate-income tenants with rental payments and utility arrears accumulated during the pandemic.

Applying for the program guarantees tenants are provided with certain protections while the state decides on their application, essentially freezing the possibility of foreclosure for a temporary period of time.

Because of this first-time foreclosures were at a historically low figure outside of the pandemic. According to a report from Property Shark, there were only 87 foreclosures registered in the five boroughs – a stark difference from the 687 in 2020.

Relief for renters spells headaches for landlords

The situation became mutually frustrating for landlords and small property owners looking to collect back pay from tenants, who have been granted a 180-day grace period through the ERAP application process.

The program only provides up to 12 months of back rent, or three months of future rent, to the landlord which can oftentimes be insufficient to cover the entirety of the debt.

Although New York State does provide a Landlord Rental Assistance Program, for landlords whose tenants were unwilling to apply for the ERAP, the system has not accepted applications since November 2021 due to a lack of available funding.

Unlike tenants, who may be struggling financially to make ends meet, certain landlords who fall under the agreements set by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board are provided with property tax abatements from the city to make up for the cost of the exemption.

In addition to the rent freezes provided by the ERAP, state legislators are pushing for additional programs for seniors and the disabled which, provided a tenant meets necessary requirements and their landlords agree to rent increases approved by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board, would provide exemptions from some rent increases and other costs for eligible rent-regulated apartments.

The fight continues

While low-income tenants continue to struggle with the looming threat of possible foreclosure, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, which sets annual rent adjustments for rent-stabilized apartments, recently released a report recommending rent increases, calling for a 2.7 to 4.5 percent increase for a one-year lease, and 4.3 to 9 percent increase for a two-year lease.

Supporters argue that this would cover inflationary costs. However, this is being built on the backs of tenants, who are being left to foot the bill. Tenants living paycheck-to-paycheck are already seeing it at the gas pump, in the grocery stores, and now they’re going to see it reflected in their rent check on the first of every month.

“Any proposed increase, let alone one of severity, would have a crushing impact on some of our city’s most vulnerable residents,” Holder said, condemning the recently announced rent hike. “Under Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg, real estate enjoyed rubber-stamped, steep rent increases from the Rent Guidelines Board, allowing landlords to line their pockets while our clients were pushed from their homes, many into local shelters. In recent years, the Board has worked to correct this imbalance, but one still remains, and this recommendation would further tip the scale.”

The housing system in New York City is broken from top-to-bottom. Considering that the number of lawyers available is insufficient to deal with the overflow of applications and lawsuits, it has become incumbent upon the state Office of Court Administration to do the right thing and pause the scheduling of foreclosure proceedings that are heavily impacting low-income tenants in predominantly Black and Latinx communities.

This is further exacerbated by landlords, property managers, and brokers who discriminate against renters with housing subsidies. According to City Limits, after years of employee departures and unfilled vacancies, the enforcement unit tasked with cracking down on complaints from would-be renters who say they were denied an apartment because of a government subsidy, does not have a single staff member left.

It’s an embarrassment to the city and state government that law-abiding, tax-paying citizens are under constant threat of foreclosure. Something needs to be done. The entire system is broken.

New York, New York: It’s early, but for the Mets, the ‘Buck’ stops here

It’s only two weeks into the 2022 baseball season, but the look, the feel and the vibe around the entire Mets franchise just feels different.

Different in a good way.

There’s a sense of energy, direction and just overall positive vibes across the board surrounding the team.

Ownership makes a big difference, but it has a certain trickle down effect.

One of the things I expected from Steve Cohen the minute he took over the Mets was to see him hire the best and brightest people to lead.

It was a hallmark of Cohen’s Wall Street tenure and I figured it would follow into his next venture, the New York Mets.

Cohen found the perfect caretaker for his franchise in Buck Showalter.

I know a lot of the new school folks love to make the argument that the manager doesn’t matter much, but take a look at the Mets.

The Mets just flat out feel different under the guidance of Buck Showalter.

The team is playing a cleaner, crisper brand of baseball.

Yes, the Mets are getting some outstanding pitching to start off this year.

However, the good feelings of the state of the franchise go well beyond that.

Look at the Mets franchise player Francisco Lindor. A year ago, Lindor was a lost puppy.

Between the rat/raccoon fiasco and joining forces with his buddy Javy Baez on the thumbs down charade, Lindor acted like a player unaware of the gravity of playing in New York.

Two weeks into the year, he looks like a different guy.

Do I think Buck Showalter has had a significant impact on the way, Lindor has handled himself on and off the field?

Absolutely.

With Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas, I had many moments wondering about the leadership and the direction of the Mets franchise due to the inexperience in the dugout.

With the way the Mets are handling their business and performing on the field, it sure seems like the team has taken on the personality of their new manager.

If that ends up being the case for 162 games, the Mets are in for one whale of a season.

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York on The Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday & Thursday plus my Ringer Gambling Podcast every Tuesday & Friday on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight on SNY.

Forest Hills mom found dead in bloody duffel bag, stabbed nearly 60 times

A 51-year-old mother of two from Forest Hills was found deceased in a bloody duffel bag at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway in Forest Park.

Orsolya Gaal was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday, April 16, after the NYPD responded to 911 calls of a “suspicious bag with blood on it.”
Officers say that the trail of blood was followed to 72-24 Juno Street, where Gaal lived with her husband and two sons.

Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, and their oldest son were out of town when she was killed.

Gaal reportedly told the youngest son, 13, that she would go out to see a show on Friday night, but at some point she met up with a man who police believe she knew.

It is believed that the man killed Gaal in the basement of her home, and dragged her body multiple blocks to the location in which she was discovered.

Surveillance footage revealed an individual appearing to drag a duffel bag through the streets of the quiet neighborhood.

Gaal’s 13-year-old son was brought in for questioning by the NYPD, but was later released.

PIX11 reports that police sources said that Klein received a text message from the man believed to have murdered Gaal.

The haunting messages allegedly read “Your wife sent me to jail some years ago. I’m back,” and “Your whole family is next.”

Gaal’s autopsy revealed that she was stabbed nearly 60 times in her neck, left arm and torso.

At the time of publication, no arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing.

Street Vendors cause congestion for Flushing pedestrians

The rising number of street vendors along Main Street in downtown Flushing is creating congestion for pedestrian travel, making it difficult to navigate the sidewalks.

In an effort to address the proliferation of vendors and other businesses using sidewalk space to sell their wares, New York City Councilwoman Sandra Ung recently invited Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga to visit the area and discuss ways to try and alleviate the issue.

“Vending is a complicated issue and Flushing is one of the areas where we know there is an especially difficult balance to strike between vendors, businesses, and pedestrians,” Mayuga said. “I appreciate Council Member Ung meeting with us and walking through the neighborhood as we work to educate vendors and hear the concerns of all involved.”

During her tour with DCWP officials, last week, Ung stressed the importance of enforcing existing regulations requiring all street vendors to be licensed by the city.

“The goal here is not to be punitive, but rather to ensure that our sidewalks are clear and safe,” Ung said in a statement.

Ung added that she looks forward to working with DCWP to ensure a safe and hygienic experience for shoppers and pedestrians in the downtown business hub.

“I want to thank Commissioner Mayuga for visiting Flushing to walk the streets and see many of the issues local residents have brought to my attention regarding the increasing congestion on our sidewalks,” Ung said. “I appreciate that the Commissioner and the Adams Administration have been responsive and willing partners in addressing this matter.”

Sunnyside Community Services wins national caregiving award

A senior center in Sunnyside received national recognition for the quality of care they provide to clients.

Sunnyside Community Services, an organization dedicated to providing support to caregivers of those who have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, was awarded a $20,000 grant through the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award.

The award is presented by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc. and Family Caregiver Alliance, and is presented to three outstanding programs in the country.

SCS and their Care NYC program was recognized for its multicultural approach and services, and is the only New York City-based winner.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our accomplishments, in particular, providing support to the Latino caregiver community,” Shyvonne Noboa, division director for senior services, said.

“Our Latino caregivers are exacerbated in terms of their needs, including social support, basic healthcare and mental health needs,” she continued. “What we do is empower with education and provide that emotional support and in-home care, and it’s wonderful to be recognized for the area of expertise that we’ve been able to craft. We’ve been providing services to family caregivers in western Queens and all of Queens for over 10 years.”

Care NYC offers services to caregivers and their loved ones which include education and caregiver skills workshops, peer support groups and long term care planning.

Edward Rosado, a caregiver support specialist at SCS, said that he enjoys being able to provide necessary services to the Latino community by making resources accessible to them and engaging with them in their native language.

“When we speak in their native tongue, we develop that trust in the beginning, which can lead to them asking for other services they normally wouldn’t know how to ask for,” Rosado said.“From that moment on, we try to provide a care plan that would implement services for them to help navigate dementia.”

He added that “caring for someone that you love that suffers from this devastating disease is not an easy thing, and so we provide the services to keep them intact.”
Anna Romero, a resident of Brownsville, cares for her 71-year-old husband whose cognitive function is declining.

She has participated in SCS’ programs for seven years, and described the organization’s assistance as “instrumental” during her husband’s journey with dementia.

“Their expertise and support system is incredible, because there’s so much knowledge and experience with the roundtable talks and the sense of community they provide,” Romero said.

“It helps me remember that I’m not going through this alone. SCS’ care is more individualized, more heartfelt than other places I’ve dealt with,” she continued. “We developed several relationships through the support group that have continued, and it’s very helpful to just be able to talk to someone who’s going through the same thing as you.”

In 2021 alone, the SCS staff provided over 2,000 caregivers with support services, and performed over 3,000 check-in calls.

The awarded funds will be used to further support and expand upon the organization’s programming.

“A lot of the time, the funding that this program gets is really tight and restricted to particular areas,” Noboa said. “This grant gives the program and the team an opportunity to get really creative, to develop and strengthen their professional skills to create opportunities for caregivers and the team in a way that we couldn’t before.”

Rosado said that the most rewarding part of his job is hearing the feedback from clients and knowing how much the work he does makes a positive difference in someone’s life.

“We’re in this work to help people. We’re not looking to pat ourselves on the back or put ourselves on a pedestal,” he said. “These clients, these caregivers are so appreciative that somebody knows that they’re alive, or that they need assistance. So what I get is not in the pocket, I get it in the heart when I hear ‘Thank you, you saved my life. God bless you.’ During this part of history, I can actually say I’m part of an organization that helped mankind out… How many people get to say that?”

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