BRC in the News and Behind the Scenes

Just before Thanksgiving, Center instructor Rachael Marotta launched a new virtual program, "Behind the Scenes at Bay Ridge Center." Each month she will feature a member of the BRC staff so that we can get to know them on a deeper level: how did he or she end up at Bay Ridge Center and Connects? What does an average work day at Bay Ridge Center and Connects look like? What about when the working day is done? (next session, Dec. 14)

Todd making sure his brother bought raffle tickets at BRC's June 2021 fundraiser.

The first guest was none other than the new Executive Director Todd W. Fliedner. He told us how he worked in development for theatre groups before taking a similar job at Brooklyn Pride and meeting Marianne Nicolosi. When Marianne came to BRC as Executive Director, it didn't take her long to bring on Todd as a fundraiser. That was about 7 years ago. Although senior services was a new career for him at the time, he had taken care of his mother late in her life and learned a lot from that experience.

"Every person has a story," says Todd, and he wants to be a good listener to everyone at BRC and to always "be present. We can be with people but don't always listen to what is being said. I try to listen."

Todd notes what a watershed moment the pandemic has been for older adults, especially as far a technology goes. Bay Ridge Center has been promoting technology through Senior Tech and other programs for years, but the "silver lining" of Covid is that senior centers have to be hybrid in the future. Virtual programming will continue and gives the opportunity for wider outreach. One attendee to the program suggested that BRC record some of the virtual programs and keep a library of classes on the website so that people can watch any time.

Further discussion ensued on whether vaccinations should be required to attend in person at Bay Ridge Center and Connects. Generally the group favored vaccination requirements or having segregated sections so that no one will be turned away but everyone feels safe. This led Todd to mention the current search by BRC for a new and bigger space so that concurrent programs would be possible and allow the Center to serve people with varied interests at the same time.

As he takes on the Executive Director job Todd is grateful to Marianne Nicolosi for all that she taught him over the years. "She's a tough boss but I learned so much from her," he said. He is also grateful to have such a dedicated and caring staff. Among the members in the session was a former nonprofit director who had lots of astute questions. Todd recognizes that many members have years of experience and skills to bring to the table. He invites members to reach out to him and share what they want from the center or their ideas on how to keep improving the programs and making BRC the place that you want it to be.

One member asked what is being done to get more media coverage and better advertise BRC's excellent services. Happily today we have a new article to share with you! Click here for Charles Otey's article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 3, 2021.

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