Celebrating Hispanic heritage and hope

Shannon Reyes

As Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15) continues to be recognized throughout the nation, individuals and organizations in Pennsylvania reflect on the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans. This year’s theme, “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” honors Hispanic Americans and their culture with an emphasis on looking to the future.

“This year’s theme … brings to mind the rich diversity of the Latino senior centers across the commonwealth and the important role they play in the local communities they serve,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Robert Torres said in a statement.

Many Philadelphia senior centers, including Norris Square Senior Community Center, offer resources and bilingual programming to the older Latino adults who live in the area. Norris Square Senior Community Center is in North Philadelphia at 2121 N. Howard St. and is currently open to participants from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with activities beginning each day at 9:30 a.m. The center offers games, such as bingo, Pokeno and dominos; music or vocal serenade; group meetings; and fitness classes.

As with most senior centers across the city, Norris Square serves grab-&-go meals in place of the hot meals senior centers served in congregate settings prior to the pandemic. In July, Norris Square Senior Center also opened an on site food pantry that is stocked with both fresh and shelf-stable food items. La Placita (The Little Plaza) is a supermarket-style pantry, where senior center participants can “shop” for five free food items each week.

To wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month, Norris Square will host a day-long event on Thursday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Performers will celebrate Hispanic cultures and their contributions. Older adults who would like to attend are asked to register in advance by calling Norris Square Senior Community Center at 215-423-7241.

In addition to supporting activities and resources for Hispanic older adults at senior community centers, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) offers year-round programming for all older Latino Philadelphians and the professionals who serve them. For more information on upcoming cultural events, contact the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040.

Categories: Education Milestones eNews