Pictured: Casa Maravilla Resident and Casimiro Avila, Casa Maravilla Resident

by Katia Silva
August 21, 2023

Casimiro Avila, a former dance instructor and a resident at TRP’s Casa Maravilla provided many years of service to his country, family, and community. His personality, witty demeanor, and words of wisdom is a model reason to celebrate Senior Citizen Day.

President Ronald Reagan designated August 21 as Senior Citizen Day. The day is dedicated to recognizing and cherishing the wisdom and experiences of the seniors in our community.

The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on us all but most especially, it was challenging for our seniors. TRP worked with organizations, the community, and local officials to ensure that our residents were well cared for.

Mary Cruz Torres is a health navigator at The Resurrection Project and makes her daily calls and visits ensuring that Casa Maravilla residents are a part of her regular check-ups. She knows the importance of regular check-ins with our seniors as they are crucial for maintaining their health, well-being, and detect any potential issues.

During one of her check-ins she phoned Casimiro, not knowing how much of an impact they would have on one another. The routine phone calls were no longer part of a job but something that Mary Cruz enjoyed doing. Their phone calls would last a while, and it was good conversation. In one of their routine phone calls, Mary Cruz noticed that Casimiro’s energy and demeanor had changed. Since Mary Cruz was trained in mental health first aid by our partners, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) and UI Health, she knew how to identify early symptoms of depression.

In one of their conversations, Casimiro told Mary Cruz that his birthday was approaching, and he wished that he would be able to celebrate it this year. She immediately started a birthday countdown and at the start of their conversations, they would count how many days until his big day. It got to a point where Casimiro would begin their conversation with, “seven more days until it’s my birthday.”

Casimiro would begin their conversation with, “seven more days until it’s my birthday.”

Mary Cruz went into action and gathered his friends from Casa Maravilla and TRP staff to throw him a birthday celebration.

In June, TRP staff and friends gathered to celebrate Casimiro’s 98th birthday, and sang to him Las Mañanitas, watched him blow out his candles, and listened to his words of wisdom. Casimiro served in the Armed Forces, he was a dance instructor, family man, and loves to socialize. For Mary Cruz, she knew how important this day was to Casimiro after being isolated due to the pandemic and not interacting with family or friends, this day was special for the both of them, especially because it was the very first time they met, face to face.

“The almight God is the one who moves us, and I thank him for a roof over our heads, the food that we eat, and the life that we have.” – Casimiro Avila

Casa Maravilla was developed for our seniors, who lead an independent lifestyle, and most importantly can remain in the community. It has 73 apartments, an Alivio Medical Center, and a Pilsen Satellite Senior Center Office for the City of Chicago. Casa Maravilla allows seniors to have affordable housing in the Pilsen community and to create their own community within the development.

TRP’s vision of creating healthy communities is building relationships with residents, acting as their day-to-day contact, and ensuring they have access to all TRP offers through resident engagement.

Today we celebrate National Senior Citizen Day! We use this as a reminder to recognize and celebrate our seniors and their contributions to our country, families, and communities.

To learn more about TRP’s application process and affordable housing options, please visit https://resurrectionproject.org/how-to-rent-a-trp-apartment/ or contact the Property Management office at 312-248-8355 or email [email protected].