The Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Senior Center serves 3,472 seniors on any given day, serving lunch, engaging members in enriching programs and keeping them active.
Behind the scenes, the facility is run by the quiet but effective program director Jane Qiu.
Qiu is relatively shy, humble and doesn’t seek the attention, but everyone she works with says she’s at the center of the center’s success. They host activities like arts and crafts, mahjong, films, karaoke and many other programs every hour of the day, not to mention the socialization that occurs during lunch.
“I’m just behind a driving force and organize our staffers and volunteers to run this center,” Qiu said.
Qiu ran the Prince Street senior center since 2004, and when it merged with the Benjamin Rosenthal center in 2010, she was tapped to lead it as well.
“I’m a social worker. I identify my goal with Selfhelp’s mission to help our seniors age well in the community,” Qiu said. “I think I found my place. I’m very happy with my job because through our work, we can see our seniors’ lives change for the better.”
She admits it’s challenging work, considering the diversity of the membership and the challenges that arise everyday, but that doesn’t phase her.
“I like to meet challenges and try to think about ways to dissolve the problems,” she said.
In fact, she wholeheartedly embraces the diversity, and urges her seniors to do the same.
“Diversity is beauty, it’s not a disaster or obstacle,” she said. “When it merged, you could see who came from Prince Street and who came from Rosenthal. Now you cannot see it. I think that’s a good thing.”