Sept. 21, 2023 By Bill Parry
Sunnyside Community Services hosted a special celebration for the newest centenarian in the neighborhood on Friday, Sept. 15. Teresa Forlini was the guest of honor and her birthday party in the center’s community space was filled with friends and family, along with staff members and administrators from the nonprofit organization.
Forlini was born on Sept. 1, 1923 and immigrated to the United States when she was 3 years old, traveling by ship from her native Italy to New York City in 1927. She and her family moved to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. She eventually married and, in 1977, moved to an apartment in Sunnyside, which became her home for the next 46 years.
Forlini worked as a bank teller for Chemical Bank and retired in 1993 at the age of 70. She currently lives with her daughter-in-law, Santa, in the same Sunnyside apartment she moved to in 1977.
“I wish everyone can be as happy as I am today,” Forlini said as she looked at her well-wishers.
As for her longevity, she said, “I didn’t do anything special. Just ate good food.”
Sunnyside Community Services Executive Director Judy Zangwill spent time with Forlini, who is a longtime member of the center, and once served on its advisory board.
“It’s always such a thrill when a member of our Center for Active Older Adults reaches 100 years young,” Zangwill said. “Terry is such an incredible person and we’re all so happy that she is celebrating her 100th birthday. I’m proud she is a member of our older adult center and that she has remained an active participant at our Center for 30 years.”
Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) is a community-based nonprofit that serves a diverse community of over 16,000 people of all ethnicities and income levels throughout Queens, with programs that range from pre-K to college and career readiness, home care and home health aide training, Beacon and Cornerstone community centers for children and families, a vibrant senior center, full range of services for at-risk older adults — including social adult day care for individuals with Alzheimer’s — and a citywide program of supportive services for those who care for them.
“It was so much fun celebrating Terry’s 100th-year birthday,” SCS Older Adult Center Director Kerly Serrano said. “She has been a member of our Center for Active Older Adults for 30 years and was actively involved in our Senior Center Advisory Council. We are so glad that we were able to celebrate this special milestone with her.”