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Town’s Project Independence Helps Reunite Two Long-Lost Friends

April 3, 2014
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Town’s Project Independence Helps Reunite Two Long-Lost Friends

North Hempstead, NY –Two childhood friends who grew up together in the same Bronx neighborhood almost three quarters of a century ago and hadn’t seen each other since, were recently reunited at a senior citizen subcommittee meeting sponsored by the Town of North Hempstead’s Project Independence (PI).

Marilyn Sands and Aileen Cox, both current residents of Great Neck Plaza, lived down the street from each other in the West Bronx over 70 years ago. They both attended P.S. 90 George Meany School and Taft High School, but lost touch after graduating in 1948.

Amazingly enough, neither woman ever moved too far from the New York Metropolitan area and both settled in the Town of North Hempstead later in life. Recently, both women were attending a PI-sponsored meeting when Sands recognized Cox from her childhood.

“Marilyn approached me after the meeting and even remembered both my first and last name,” said Cox, who grew up in the Lower East Side before moving to the Bronx when she was eight. “I have to admit, it took me a little while to place her face with how I knew her, but once we began to talk about the neighborhood, the memories started to flow back.”

After they went home that night, both women started to dig through old photographs of themselves, their families, and their old neighborhood. They recently had lunch together to share more memories as well as their sentimental photographs.

“Amazing stories like this illustrate how Project Independence brings people together,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “This wonderful North Hempstead program helps seniors like Marilyn and Aileen live active lives in their community for as long as they possibly can.”

North Hempstead created Project Independence to help senior citizens continue to age in place longer and with greater confidence by having access to high quality health and human services, minor home repair, taxi transportation for medical visits and shopping, as well as adding recreational and educational programs.

Both Sands and Cox regularly take advantage of Project Independence’s taxi service to bring them to and from their doctors’ offices. Sands, who has macular degeneration and trouble seeing, says that driving herself is nearly impossible.

“If it wasn’t for Project Independence’s transportation program, I don’t know how I’d be able to make all of my doctor’s appointments,” Sands said.

The subject of the subcommittee meeting that helped reunite the two women was to discuss an initiative called Circle of Support, a concept that encourages self-advocacy and planning for any situation that could occur around the clock.

Sands and Cox hope that both Project Independence and the Circle of Support will continue to expand in the future.

For more information on North Hempstead’s Project Independence or the Circle of Support Subcommittee, please call 311 or visit www.northhempsteadny.gov.

From left, Aileen Cox and Marilyn Sands.
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