Riverdale Senior Services center celebrates 50 years


This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the RSS-Riverdale Senior Services center. Over the past five decades, the RSS has provided older adults with support and services that have helped them stay engaged in the community, as well as with friends and family.

RSS was founded with the guiding philosophy that senior citizens needed socialization and a healthy nutritional program. Over the years, the facility has evolved, and its programs have changed to address the modern needs of that demographic cohort. There have been four executive directors, and each has brought unique improvements to the center.

“We appreciate the camaraderie among the people who go there,” RSS member Susan Guzman said. “There are many activities that are provided — there’s such a plethora of things to do there. There’s dance, exercise, art, music, book clubs, writing groups and all kinds of things. No matter what your interest is, you can find something there that you’d enjoy doing.”

The RSS creates innovative programs that not many other senior centers have access to, according to Helen Morik, president of its board of directors. The idea is to change as the community changes.

“What older adults might have needed in 1974, or 1994, isn’t necessarily what they’re needing now, in 2024,” Morik said. It “might be more stimulation, so that’s how these programs developed into more sophisticated programs.”

The RSS is set to host a celebration gala on June 18, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Van Cortlandt Lake House. The event will honor Robert Rubinstein and the Kiwanis Club of Riverdale. Rubinstein was one of the facility’s founders, and has been on the board for 50 years and is its longest-serving member. The gala will also honor Ruth Friendly, who recently turned 100 years old.

“We’re very excited about it because it’s the 50th-anniversary celebration, and we expect it to be Bronx’s bash of June,” Morik said. “It’s a big deal for us, and we’re also expecting it to sell out.”

The RSS is looking for sponsorships for the event, and has already received backing from the Horace Mann School and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. There are various opportunities to contribute, with donation tiers ranging from $350 to over $50,000, the latter entitling the donor to acknowledgement as a 50th Anniversary Chair in all RSS anniversary communications; a table for eight at the gala; prominent mention in program remarks; and promotion on the event webpage and in the RSS newsletter.

At the gala, Interim Executive Director Floyd Rumohr will share plans for the future of the center, and discuss a new legacy program, with the help of the new interim development director, Claudia Zeldin. According to Rumohr, one of the ways to ensure that RSS continues to thrive is to cultivate older adults who have the means to include the center in their estates.

Rumohr spoke about the roadmap that he plans to detail at the gala.

“Historically, we provided lots of programs and services to lower-income older adults,” he said. “Thanks to a $125,000 pledge from Jeffrey Dinowitz, we’re going to be able to upgrade our technology … We’re also looking at clinical services in mental health and physical health, because we know that is likely to be an exceptional, robust and enduring need going into the future. So we’re looking to build a capacity there so we can serve hundreds and thousands of more folks in clinical services, non-clinical services, programs and activities. So the idea is, we want to be among the top five places that people go to when they think of recreation healing, and belonging in the near future.”


Senior Services Senior Center RSS Riverdale 50th Anniversary Elderly Support Community Engagement Senior Activities Socialization for Seniors Senior Nutrition Program Elderly Care Bronx Community Events Gala Celebration Senior Sponsorships Legacy Program Interim Executive Director Elderly Health Services Mental Health Support Physical Health Programs Senior Recreation Community Belonging