New York City seniors are all dressed up and ready to shut down some myths about what it means to grow up.

And just a heads-up, they're gonna make your selfies look like total amateur hour while they're at it.

Just look at 86-year-old Warren Bass Jr. He's so dapper in his suit.


Warren Bass Jr., 86. All photos by Richard Henry, used with permission.

He's such a Stylin' Senior. Officially, even. New York City says so.

Stylin' Seniors, a project by the NYC Department for the Aging, aims to celebrate the oldest and wisest among us.

For the past two years, photographer Richard Henry — a senior citizen himself — has been visiting senior centers and setting up "Stylin' Senior" photoshoots for those who want to show off their style and express themselves in a way seniors don't often get a chance to do.

Theresa Pepe, 83.

The photoshoots are just as fun as they are important. Many seniors are vibrant, active, and dressed to impress. And they have great stories to tell.

"There is often this idea that seniors go to senior centers just to eat lunch and play bingo and sit around," explained Jon Minners, director of public affairs at the NYC Department for the Aging. That's not the reality of it.

Here are 27 more photos from the project that prove getting older doesn't mean getting less badass:

1. Ali Riddick, 81, has "the look" down pat.

She enjoys going to Rochdale Neighborhood Senior Center and connecting with people.

2. Walter Kehr, 88, is the epitome of style.

What a look! I bet he even uses the hankerchief in his breast pocket.

3. Eduardo Roldos, 76, is from Cuba and has a Ph.D. in philosophy.

He also has approximately 125 suspenders, with matching ties.

That's quite a collection!

4. Vivian Smith, 92, takes belly dancing, opera, and Shakespeare classes at the Stein Senior Center.

5. Cheri Cummino Markle, 76, is a veteran, seen here with one of her four rescue cats.

6. Charles E. Lee, 83, loves the staff and the games played at the Robert Couche Senior Center in Jamaica, Queens.

7. Herbert Jackson, 70, wasn't about to let his recent cataract surgery stop him from his photoshoot.

He likes to reminisce on his hoopin' days.

8. Margot Neuburger, 88, made the coat she's wearing.

It's beautiful and very chic.

9. Bernard Dove, 75, is a professional line dance instructor and jazz dancer.

He's even performed at the Apollo Theater and Madison Square Garden!

10. Milania Zhornist, 75, and her husband of 51+ years, Vovik, 76, sure love dancin'.

11. Gladys Solano, 71, loves to cook, dance, socialize, and enjoy life.

12. Emily Basile, 90, says she's very glad to be in such good health.

She says the HANAC's Angelo Petromelis Senior Center is her lifeline.

13. Helen Savarese, 87, loves making friends at her senior center.

"The center is my second home," she said. "I come every day, except when I need to get blood taken."

14. Peter Cardella, 96, founded the Peter Cardella Neighborhood Senior Center in Queens!

What a guy!

15. Alice Brown, 84, says she eats mostly anything she wants.

I like her attitude.

16. Joshua Wolinsky, 79, has been a producer on independent radio and television, including producing "The Josh Wolinsky Show."

Celebrity sighting!

17. Irene Muchnick, 86, has gone to many centers but says Young Israel of Wavecrest & Bayswater is by far her favorite.

18. Edward Curtis Williams, 70, is known as "Happy-Go-Lucky" for a reason. Look at that smile!

"It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams."

19. Sylvia Nappi, 88, was once a showroom model and a teacher for the mentally challenged.

20. Peter W. Hung, 76, wasn't sure whether he'd fit in as one of the only Chinese seniors at his center. He was wrong. He fit in just fine!



21. Odette Benjamin, 88, was born in Cairo and has been an active member of her senior center for 25 years and counting.

22. Sang Takieddine, 77, moved to New York almost 25 years ago.

23. Stanley Wesley, 75, is as classy as they come.

24. Stella Ann-Marie Norman, 84, trained as a nurse in England before coming to the United States over 48 years ago.

She's seen A LOT of the world.

25. Myreille Hall, 80, and her husband, Jean Hall, 84, are so adorable. #couplegoals


26. Nancy Cruz, 61, said she wasn't much of a picture person until she posed for this series.

27. Betty Cooper and Shirley Brotman, both 83, are identical twins who friends still have a hard time telling apart.

For fun, they go by Betty Boop and Shirley Temple. Ha!

Shoutout to the Stylin' Seniors — on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr — for shining a positive light on aging gracefully and what the senior community is all about.

"This is for that person who is looking at a senior center, who is 60, and thinks, 'I'm not old enough for this,'" Minners says. "I want them to know it's not true. A lot of fun can be had, no matter your age."

How many times have you thought about something you want to try and thought: "Bummer. I'm too old to do that now." Well, you're not. And when you see the incredible photos Henry took of seniors crossing the line at the NYC Marathon, you'll remember why.

There is a multibillion-dollar industry that pushes us to try to look as young as possible. After looking at these photos and seeing how wonderful aging can be, it's clear we could all learn a thing or two from these seniors.

Now excuse me, I'm going to go call my grandma.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

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How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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