A Week of Thanksgiving at Goddard Riverside

Celebrating talents and building community at TOP.
Arad and Frances make squash.
Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center was decked out in holiday colors.
A musical interlude at The Senate.

A Week of Thanksgiving at Goddard Riverside

Thanksgiving at Goddard Riverside Community Center is much more than a day. Throughout this week, people have gathered at our programs around the Upper West Side to celebrate each other and the strength of the community.

On Wednesday, members of The Other Place were serving up turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and pumpkin pie. TOP is a clubhouse that helps homeless and formerly homeless adults with mental illness learn life and work skills. Clubhouse members practiced those skills by planning and preparing the meal.

Afterward, participants showed off their talents as entertainers at Open Mic —a favorite TOP activity. Members read poetry, did magic tricks and told jokes. One man showed a video of himself playing piano; it was a step toward coping with the anxiety that prevents him from performing live. Another treated the crowd to some blues harmonica.

As TOP’s celebration was winding down, seniors were gathering at the Naturally Occurring Retirement Center for a talk on making the Thanksgiving meal healthier. Mount Sinai Certified Diabetes Educator Sylvaine Frances  and  Mount Sinai Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist  Dori Arad led a cooking demonstration in the community room kitchen.  They showed how to make a savory treat—Butternut Squash with Spinach and Almonds—and a sweet one—Chocolate “No-Bakes.”

Earlier in the day, Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center Ð Goddard Riverside’s strategic partner —held a festive midday meal for seniors. The auditorium was decorated in Thanksgiving orange and the kitchen turned out a fabulous meal with all the trimmings. A chorus from the Heschel School and a jazz trio from Julliard provided entertainment.

It was also a day to celebrate partnerships with the local community —a key part of the settlement house philosophy. Dan Campanelli  from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office was on hand to present awards to two friends of Lincoln Square.  63rd West Realty was recognized for its loyal support of Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center, while Andrew Blacks was honored for founding the local Positive Influence Basketball League.

On Wednesday, students from Trinity School came to The Senate, one of our supportive housing facilities, to deliver holiday treats. They carried blue canvas tote bags for each resident, filled with homemade cookies, instant mac and cheese, canned tuna, powdered soup, and handmade holiday cards. The students filled the Senate community room with live music as residents clapped and sang along.

Thanksgiving Day itself will bring a time-honored Goddard Riverside tradition: the Thanksgiving meal. That, too, has been in the making for days and even months; hundreds of volunteers have been baking cookies, roasting turkeys, soliciting donations and organizing kitchen shifts in the lead-up to the big gathering. Our Thanksgiving meal runs from noon until 3 p.m. at 593 Columbus Avenue. Whether you’re spending your holiday here or somewhere else, we hope it’s a wonderful one.