by Susan Patrick
Community Spotlight is a series of stories that take a closer look at the people that make up the USES family. Our neighbors come from all walks and stages of life and each have a unique story we think you’ll want to hear.
Ms. B is an active member of the Senior Services program and has been a part of the USES family for over 15 years now. You can often find her in Yoga or Jazzercise class or enjoying a hot lunch with friends in our cafeteria.
Born and raised in St. Thomas, Jamaica, Ms. B graduated college and then worked for 10 years as an office manager in Kingston, Jamaica. She decided take a chance and move to Boston. In the United States, Ms. B started out as a bank teller, was promoted to a bookkeeper at Progressive Credit Union, and then went on to work at State Street Bank and Trust for over 10 years. “I climbed the ladder and was promoted many times,” said Ms. B
When Ms. B first moved to Boston, she shared an apartment with a roommate. Eventually, her roommate moved out and she realized that she had the means to keep the apartment by herself. Her increasing financial resources and business acumen eventually allowed Ms. B to invest in a two-family house in Dorchester. Now retired and in her 80’s, Ms. B continues to live independently and act as the landlord for her house in Dorchester.
Thanks to the classes and the support offered by USES, Ms. B continues to thrive. Over the past several years, USES’ Senior Home Repair program has helped to fix a broken cellar stair, replace a rotting plank on the front porch, fix a bathroom window, and more. Ms. B also attends two weekly Yoga Stretching and Jazzercise classes at USES to stay healthy and manage her weight.
“I’m not much a dancer, but I do what I can,” said Ms. B “The classes help me maintain my weight. After class, I feel better, both mentally and physically.
In our neighborhood, 65% of senior households have less than $20,000 in annual income. Nineteen percent of seniors in Boston have diabetes, 22% are obese, and 58% are hypertensive. Through a repair program for home owners, daily hot lunches, and a wide range of wellness classes, USES’ Senior Services program seeks to address these harsh realities by ensuring that over 300 senior community residents like Ms. B are able to live independently and comfortably in their homes, engage with the broader community, and maintain their health, well-being and happiness.