Senior Center welcomes fall with block party

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NAUGATUCK — Harvey Leon Frydman bustled about the senior center last Thursday morning, greeting guests and coordinating vendors, almost like a principal would manage students and teachers on the first day of school. That is, in fact, exactly the vibe he was going for.

“Our seniors are coming back from their summer vacations,” Frydman, the Naugatuck Senior Center’s director, explained. “It’s that time of year when the kids are going back to school, and our seniors are coming back to the senior center.”

The latter might be more fun. Unlike their younger counterparts, who are welcomed back by quizzes and homework, the roughly 100 borough seniors who visited the center were met by a block party—“a big bash,” as Frydman called it.

They enjoyed free refreshments and raffle prizes, while more than 30 area businesses and organizations manned booths, offering samples of and information about their services.

“I think the exposure for the housing authority in the community, something like this event [is great],” Naugatuck Public Housing Manager Barbara Breen said. “We’re handing out applications, we’re having interest, so it’s great for the housing authority.”

Breen said the block party, held for the sixth time last week, was an effective way to meet potential clients.

Even groups for whom senior citizens are not part of the typical clientele found a purpose for the event. Carol McIlravy of Compassionate Hands Holistic Center said networking with other businesses was another benefit of the party.

“It is. It’s nice to meet them,” she said. “It’s nice to see them and stuff.”

Frydman added he used the morning as a sort-of brainstorming session for potential senior center activities.

“I get to learn more about what these organizations have to offer our seniors,” he said. “So, for instance, Mohegan Sun Casino: We might do a two-day overnight trip, instead of the regular day trips because, yes, there is interest.”

Several local politicians, including Mayor Bob Mezzo, also made appearances. Though they had no products to promote, they seemed to catch on to the day’s ultimate theme.

“All of this has to do with a personal touch,” Frydman summarized.