"In 1997, I applied for the Summer Youth Employment Program and was placed in QCH's Neighborhood Intergenerational Chore and Errand program. Nine years later, I applied for the secretary position at their Pomonok Community Center.
“In September, I turned 105 years old. Because of my age, I can’t really go shopping anymore. So for the last five years, maybe even longer than that, I’ve been receiving meal-on-wheels and case management assistance from QCH.
"I was born in Mexico and my family and I immigrated here when I was just 2 years old. I actually haven’t been back there since we left 26 years ago, so when an opportunity came up to study abroad at the biggest university in Mexico, I knew I had to take advantage.
"I worked at John Adams High School for 18 years and I was Dean for six of those years. But I had to retire early to work on recovering from cancer. I was depressed, but then I found the Pomonok Senior Center and I started feeling really inspired.
"As the Assistant Dean for Student Development (at Queensborough Community College), I work with QCH’s College Access and Success Program staff to let them know how their students are doing. I also help the students find what they need.
"I’ve been coming to the Pomonok Senior Center for 31 years. I came specifically for the art classes. I never did any art before this. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do real art, but now I’ve made more than 100 paintings.