She’s still showing that age is just a number.
One of the Shore Hill Neighborhood Center’s most popular members, Bensonhurst resident Goldie Sohn turned 107-years-young on April 9. The following day, members of the senior center, family and friends celebrated the milestone during a party at Family Health Centers at NYU Langone Shore Hill Neighborhood Center, 9000 Shore Road.
Sohn, who is also a member of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Striders, was once again joined by her daughter Marilyn Fisher for the celebration.
According to Fisher, the center and day means the world to both her and her mother, who was born in 1912 in Newark before moving to Brooklyn at age 12.
“It’s always been a great day, but this year it’s extra special because I didn’t think she was going to make it [to the center],” Fisher admitted. “The only reason she’s here is because this place is like home to her and I figured she’d be okay here today. She’s not connecting as much as she used to but because she’s been coming here for six years, this is her other home.”
Sohn has had a connection with the center, which offers a variety of activities, since she joined several years ago.
“From the day she first walked in, it was like something happened. The way they treat her makes her feel special,” Fisher said, adding that the center has been celebrating her birthday for years. “Every year, they’ve done it. The first year she was here, she was 99 and they just celebrated it like other birthdays. For her 100th birthday, they made a huge deal with politicians coming, and every year since then, it’s been incredible. It means a lot.”
The fact that Sohn lived at all was a wonder, according to her daughter.
“She’s a miracle,” she said. “She was born at seven months at a pound and three quarters before they had incubators, so the fact that she not only survived, but that she’s had a healthy 107 years is amazing.”
Director of Services for Older Adults at NYU Langone Lauren Volkmer discussed what Sohn means to her and the center.
“Goldie is an amazing human being. She has lived a very long time and when we do that, our bodies and minds don’t function as well as they did when we were younger so she needs a little extra support and that’s what we do here,” Volkmer said.
Volkmer, who oversees the senior center and the social adult day program, said that Sohn benefits from the center’s Seniors In Touch program.
“She needs a little one-on-one attention, activities that are appropriate to her level and ability, and that’s what we can provide her with here. She’s consistently come to this program with a smile on her face,” she said. “She’s consistently engaged in whatever activity is going on. She loves to sing, dance and exercise. She’s slowed down a bit this year, but we still consider her a very vibrant member of this community and we are just so fortunate to have her as part of it. We wish that more folks like her would know about the programs that we provide and would be able to engage in them. From what her daughter shared, this is something that keeps her going. This is something she looks forward to the mornings.”
Wesley Davis, assistant manager NYRR Striders, handed Sohn some gifts and called her an inspiration.
To be a member of the Striders, he noted, you need to be at least 50. As for Sohn, “Ms. Goldie is our oldest Strider,” he said. “She has been a part of this program since the fall of 2014 and she attends weekly, doing exercises pertaining to increasing and bettering strength, flexibility, endurance and balance.
“We are trying to change attitudes towards fitness for older adults and Ms. Goldie is one who shows that,” Davis added. “She attended mostly all the sessions this past year and every week she’s here and ready to go and exercise. She’s not just a motivation for us. She’s a motivation for her peers as well.”