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Senior Companion Program unique in city

Senior citizens have an opportunity to help their peers and earn some pocket money by volunteering with the newly created Senior Companion Program.

The program was created this year by the Henry Street Settlement to help the elderly remain socially engaged and attain the living assistance they need from their peers.

“It is a unique program,” said Susan LaRosa, director of marketing and communications, “There’s none like it in New York City.”

Duties of the senior companions include helping other seniors run errands, take medication and socialize. Companions are expected to work four hours a day, Monday through Friday.

Seniors who are interested in becoming companions must be 60-years-old, in good health, able to take public transportation.

In return, companions will receive a small stipend of $2.55 an hour for their services and complimentary monthly training session that focus on senior citizens’ concerns and issues.

Last month, the companion program held an information invited Citibank to speak to volunteers about financial literacy.

Jennifer Fields-Joseph, the program’s director, said ideal applicants are not only responsible for helping run errands, but to also continuing their education. Volunteers are expected to remain current on elderly concerns like bereavement, diabetes and nutrition.

“Training is a big part of our program,” said Fields-Joseph. The program invites experts from various fields to discuss topics and share information that might be of use to senior citizens.

La Rosa said the program serves as a way for seniors to unite and create a stronger elderly community since they are being assisted by their peers.

“It’s a terrific opportunity to give people structure to their day…to give them something to look forward too,” she said.

Applications can be requested by calling the Henry Street Settlement’s Senior Companion Program at 212-406-5044 or by e-mailing them at [email protected]. They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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