Community News

A mix of young and old at new church program in Valley Stream


Most of the three- and four-year-olds kept their eyes on their teacher for guidance as they belted out several children’s songs for their audience, a small group of women who smiled as they listened, some softly clapping their hands to the rhythm.

“There’s nothing like bringing youth for the older people,” said Ann Seligson, director of the SPARK Senior Program, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. “They make us come alive.”

The students, from the adjacent nursery school, wrapped up their performance and scurried closer to the women, who handed out Hershey’s Kisses.

Betty Sabbatini, 87, a 60-year-member of the church, said her daughter drops her off during program hours so she can socialize and participate in the activities. “It’s nice to see what they’re doing,” she said of the children.

Eula Hussein, 69, recently retired from her job as a pediatric nurse. She said she enjoyed watching the enthusiastic children, and came to the program now that she has more free time and is looking for activities.

The new program’s membership has grown to 11 in its first two months, and so has its offerings: Activities include board games, a book club, creative writing, a paint class and a Chinese movements workshop. It runs on Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. Registration for a five-week or 10-week session is required. The fee is $5 per week.

Last month, chair yoga was introduced. One participant lit up when she saw what was in store. “I always wanted to see how they did this!” she exclaimed.