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The Neighborhood House: A Century of Serving the Community

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February 28, 2022

Within our rivertown communities there are many charitable organizations that aim to benefit various segments of the population. They feed the disadvantaged, assist those with special needs, including refugees, further education and play for children, protect persons from abuse, provide services and companionship for seniors and protect our ecosystem.

Recognizing the many and varied accomplishments rendered by these organizations for our communities, The Hudson Independent is now providing this special section in which each describes what they do and whom they help.   

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Since 1912, the Neighborhood House has provided essential services to the community of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.  The House, located at the corner of Washington and Wildey Streets in Tarrytown, is open to all older adults, regardless of where they live, so local residents can socialize with friends from the surrounding villages. 

With a welcoming atmosphere, the organization offers enrichment classes with trained instructors.  Our weekly healthy lifestyle programs consist of Movement to Music, Chair Yoga and Tai Chi, while recreation includes bridge & Mah Jong, and the Senior Canteen socials and bingo.   The Art Workshop also meets weekly, where seniors have the opportunity to develop their own artistic projects, which they exhibit at Warner Library every summer.

A core philosophy at the Neighborhood House is to enable access to programs without any fees so that there are no financial barriers to participation.  Last year, thanks to a donation of IPads from EF Language School, we planned a new intergenerational program to match seniors with students who would teach basic computer skills, but unfortunately the pandemic upended our plans.

The Neighborhood House also hosts Greenburgh Nutrition, a federally funded program that provides a nutritious lunch to seniors at low or no cost.

In 2020, the Neighborhood House was very proud to be a part of the community project that is now the Wishing Wall, adjacent to the lighthouse in Sleepy Hollow.  With intergenerational programs on hold, we were able to move some Westchester Community Foundation grant funds to support the planning and design of the wall. Several seniors from our Art Workshop were among those artists who took part in this outstanding effort and you can still visit their work as you enjoy a stroll along the River Walk.

As with all non-profits, we frequently face financial challenges, both for operating expenses and essential building maintenance. Thanks to a very generous and supportive local community, we were able to carry out some much needed capital upgrades last year, including complete replacement of the roof and air-conditioning systems. It was a great achievement. In-person fundraising has not been possible recently, but in pre-pandemic years, the Neighborhood House hosted a variety of popular events which members of the senior community enjoyed, such as a Mardi-Gras-themed dinner with a New Orleans style jazz ensemble, while another year a Zydeco band (from New Jersey!) had everybody dancing.

This is a brief overview of the busy days at the Neighborhood House and gives an insight into the important part we play in the community.  These are challenging times, and we all need to be aware of the isolation faced by our older, more vulnerable, population, particularly those living on their own.

Throughout this time we have maintained an active presence at the Neighborhood House so that seniors could touch base with our staff member, Karla, and stay current with the situation.  Board members sent out newsletters by mail and email to keep seniors engaged, and made individual calls.  At the height of the pandemic, some programs went online while others waited for a re-opening date.  By the summer of 2021, we were able to resume much of our regular programming with some activities taking place outdoors in the side yard.  This year, in-person programs had been suspended; however, they have resumed as have the fitness classes which had continued via Zoom thanks to our dedicated instructors.

The Neighborhood House is an independent non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board, headed by President Francesca Spinner.   Come and join us in helping to run this small enterprise that is an asset in our community. Anyone interested in taking part or finding out more can reach us at <theneighborhood@optonline.net> or at (914) 631-0205. The website is: www.theneighborhoodhouse.org

Our address is: 43 Wildey Street, Tarrytown, NY 10591. The house is open Tuesday through Friday 10am-4pm.

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