"My first connection to QCH was through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which gave me an opportunity to gain invaluable job experience. Thanks to SYEP, I learned about QCH’s Neighborhood Intergenerational Chore and Errand (NICE) program.
"As a teacher, my journey started in nursery and pre-k. Since then, I’ve worked in public, private, charter, and special education settings at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Everything changed for me when I came to QCH Voyages Prep High School.
“I’ve been going to the Pomonok Community Center for seven years. When I’m here, I really enjoy playing ping pong for exercise and keeping me sharp. When you get older, it’s a great exercise against Alzheimer’s. Also, because of my work, I have a lot on my mind and sometimes struggle to sleep.
“I lived in my old apartment in Manhattan for 34 years. When I started to think about retirement, Jackson Heights in Queens was at the top of my list of places, mainly because of the convenient transportation.
“I resigned from my job in the City because I was feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. In the meantime, I started working part-time in a supermarket and initially said to myself that I would work there until I found something that makes me happy.
"I've always had a passion for helping others, in any way I could. After losing my dad at the age of 17, I put a lot of my focus in school and doing what I could to make him proud. I was balancing my studies while also being a caretaker for my grandma.