To be healthy, seniors have to feel safe and informed. That’s why Project RIGHT created the Grove Hall Senior Empowerment Initiative. The program offers workshops for seniors in the Grove Hall neighborhood, comprising part of Roxbury and North Dorchester.
“Workshops cover areas of top concern to residents including issues of public safety such as senior scams, identity theft and violence,” said Michael Kozu, Project RIGHT community coordinator. “We also help educate residents on quality of life areas such as home repair, tenant-landlord rights, foreclosure prevention and more.”
The community’s teens are also invited to these workshops to promote intergenerational collaboration.
“We want to build relations between seniors and our younger residents so they learn how to help solve community issues together,” said Kozu. “The workshops help provide a safe haven in which interactive events for seniors and the younger generation can take place.”
Project RIGHT partners with the Boston Police Department, Boston Public Health Commission and the Boston Elderly Commission to conduct these workshops. In a workshop focused on housing issues, for example, seniors learned from representatives of the Elderly Commission and Inspectional Services department about resources available to them from the city from both the landlord’s and tenants’ perspective. Everything from tips on how to select someone to make repairs in one’s home, to knowing the rights of tenants and landlords, and most importantly, which city department deals with which issues.
Most recently, the nonprofit held a workshop on emergency preparedness. Participants learned new CPR standards, safety tips, common sense tips on topics such as fraud, and general medical awareness advice such as how to minimize risks from mosquitos, inclement weather and the recent heat waves.
Based on its efforts in this area, Project RIGHT was selected by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) as a best practice for the Boston Health Resilience Network (BHRN), which brings together public, private and non-profit partners to proactively address the challenges emergencies can present to health and safety. Project RIGHT was also featured in a campaign by DPH’s Emergency Preparedness Bureau which encourages Bay State residents, families and communities to make plans and prepare for severe weather, natural disasters or other emergency events.
This story was published originally in the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s September 10, 2013 newsletter.