Every morning Ryszard Duda gets into his red Chevrolet in Staten Island and drives out to Greenpoint. But unlike his fellow commuters, the 70-year-old retired architect neither schleps to work nor visits relatives. He comes to have fun.
Duda is a member of Amber Health Social Day Care Center. Initially opened in Williamsburg in February 2013, Amber Health was established by Dr. Cezary Borawski as “a place where Polish seniors can have a good time, meet with friends and eat a healthy Polish meal.” To keep its forty members active both physically and mentally, Program Director Janusz Skowron offers over a dozen activities, including board and card games, ceramics, field trips, English and computer lessons, aerobics, a film club, a book club, a poetry club and a chorus. Members are also able to consult a social worker, and often attend talks about maintaining and improving one’s health. Amber Health moved to its current address at 71 India Street in September.
Amber Health’s abundance of programs, as well as the talents of its members, was on display last Friday, February 7th during an “Artistic Salon of Seniors”. After musicians Antoni Niwelt and Leslaw Kanik performed Polish songs from the 40s and 50s, the seniors took the stage to perform comedy sketches and recite poetry. During intermission, Skowron presented a slideshow of paintings by 77-year-old member Teresa Stefanowicz and photographic portraits of her fellow seniors by Arthur Skowron. Closing out the evening’s entertainment, the Chor Michala (Michael’s Chorus) gave rousing renditions of traditional Polish songs.
Guests were impressed by both the skills of the seniors and the vitality of their performance. Before wishing them good night, Polish Consul Mateusz Stasiek complimented the retirees on their “huge talent” and thanked Amber Health for a wonderful show. Members were happy to oblige.
“I always wanted to sing and paint, but I never had the time or chance,” said Teresa, “until I came to Amber. And now I’m learning computer skills, too. I love the atmosphere, good food and the care we get from the staff.”
For more information about Amber Health, call (718) 388-8388.