The holidays are on full display here at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging .
“The holidays are such a wonderful time here because there’s so many different cultures here,” Runita Miller-Gerald said.
The seniors are putting their own personal touch on the season creating handmade ornaments.
“You really have to sit down and scheme out what you’re gonna do just to make it as pretty as possible,” she added.
“This is gonna be a star when I put the pieces together,” Jayne Reed showed us.
“I love it, the people here are so talented," Jeanette Sherrard smiled.
The festive, family atmosphere attracts New Yorkers from all over to get involved.
“I take three buses to get here,” Miller-Gerald said.
“I live near Morningside Park so I walk 35 minutes over here,” Sherrard said. “I’d move in if I could.”
The East Harlem program gives people over the age of 60 a safe place to learn, innovate and engage.
“It brings joy because after working for so many years and you retire, you don’t want to just sit at home and not doing anything," Miller-Gerald said. "You want an opportunity to learn something new, just do different things that you wouldn’t normally do.”
The sewing, designing and gluing has also become a source of confidence for many.
“I’m one of those people who don’t get out of the house, so for me it’s therapy just to leave the house,” Reed explained.
“It gives me more energy,” Sherrard added. "It gives me more like a purpose.”
That spark is what the teachers here live for.
“I think they’re learning that everything they do is good," one of the teachers said. "There’s satisfaction in making things.”
And the true feeling of holiday cheer seems to be the moment the ornaments are showcased for everyone to see.
“People can take people to the tree and say look I made this, I created this and there is great joy and pride in fact that they’re not only sharing Christmas tree but they’ve had a huge part in it," Bill Dionne, Executive Director of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging, said.
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi