Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
The kids may be grown. The marriage may have not worked out. Perhaps retirement affords more free time than was anticipated.
Enter The Transition Network, an national social group featuring an active chapter on Long Island that meets regularly at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library.
Judy Forman, Plainview resident and program co-chair, noted that The Transition Network is an organization of women ages 50 and over who are ‘transitioning’ into the next phase of their lives — whether it be retirement, divorce, losing a loved one or so on — and helping them to meet new people while expanding their horizons.
“We are a national organization, and on Long Island we have a chamber that has almost 500 members between Nassau and Suffolk County,” she said. “The whole point of The Transition Network is to meet new people and make new friends that we might not have otherwise in our prior lives.”
Hiking, photography, mah jongg, discussion groups, engaging guest speakers; the categories of interest available to members is nearly limitless, according to Forman. In addition, the group also uses its considerable membership to help the less fortunate, said program co-chair Joan Ayoub, a Massapequa resident. The Transition Network serves all manner of local charitable causes throughout Long Island.
“We work a lot with children, and we’re also a very active partner with local food bank Island Harvest,” she said. “We’ve held Chinese auctions and donated the proceeds to Island Harvest, we go over to their offices and stuff envelopes...anything that is necessary. So, The Transition Network is not only a wonderful organization for people who not only want to be social, but who want to be involved in and have a positive effect upon their communities as well.”
“There’s an expression- ‘giving is getting.’ And we get so much more by what we give,” Forman added. “And we really get so much joy out of helping the community...we have a knitting group that makes scarves and hats for kids and soldiers, and we recently held a prom dress drive for girls that couldn’t afford their own prom dresses, accessories, and make-up. It’s such a good feeling to use what we have to help others.”
Claudia Cohen, a retired teacher who currently resides in Merrick, came across a notice extolling the virtues of The Transition Network three years ago and thought that it sounded like a splendid thing to check out; she’s been a steadfast member ever since.
“It just spoke to me on so many levels, because it has connectivity to other women, and it has volunteerism and charitable work,” she said. “The main thing that spoke to me, however, were the ‘Peer Groups.’ They’re based around your individual interests, and can vary anywhere from theatergoing, the arts, cooking, day trips, and more. It’s engaged me personally...I’ve met interesting women, formed lasting friendships, and my social calendar is filled. Once the children are grown and the nest is empty, you want to do things that are fulfilling to you, and this is a great way to do it.”
Great Neck resident Arlyn Wasserberg said that The Transition Network serves an important purpose to the many older women on Long Island, truly giving many of them an entirely new perspective on life; that your later years are not the beginning of the end, but simply the start of yet another exciting chapter in the adventure of your life.
“We fill a void that exists in society, particularly on Long Island...there are not a whole lot of groups like this,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many women have said, ‘you’ve saved my life.’ It’s an exaggeration, of course, but what they really mean is that we’ve enhanced their lives. These are women who have lost their structure, an organized life, and suddenly there’s a void. We’re 500 strong and growing, and we really make a difference in the lives of so many women.”
To find out more about The Transition Network, visit www.thetransitionnetwork.org.