... or in my case, reconnect. Stu and I first met in 2007, when we both held senior management positions at a major market research firm. I was laid off in 2008 due to the recession, but Stu stayed until he retired in 2011.
Not one to just sit around, Stu immediately became involved in Club 76, a senior center near the JCC, and the only one to serve daily kosher lunches between the Lower East Side and Washington Heights.
When Stu became a member, he quickly participated in many of the center’s activities. Then he began taking photos and writing articles for the Club’s monthly newsletter. He is the newsletter's official photographer, reporter and proofreader. In addition, Stu manages the event ticket committee, runs the Club’s popular bingo program, and is the keeper of their birthday list.
A tireless advocate, Stu is the Vice President of the Club’s Advisory Council. He attends local community board meetings and, along with Glen Richter, formed the Friends of Club 76. Friends of Club 76 is an independent initiative of Club 76 members and local community supporters that networks with local politicians to create awareness and interest in the plight of the center, which has had funding issues and almost had to close in 2013.
Around that same time, Engage began at the JCC, and Stu became the official liaison between the two organizations, as well as a founding member of the Engage Men’s Group. “Engage is the best thing that’s ever happened to Club 76,” he said. The Men’s Group has adopted Club 76, most recently helping out by participating in a local flea market this past spring, where they raised over $1,600 for the Club. The Men’s Group meets weekly on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm.
Engage will also be starting a Memory Book Project at Club 76 in November, and as the Engage team leader for this project I couldn't be happier to work with Stu again.
Given all this activity, it was no surprise to anyone that Stu was awarded a UJA Volunteer of the Year award this past spring. Well done, my friend!