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Zoilo, Senior Center

“I used to be able to go on long walks, but not anymore.”

In his younger years, Zoilo would spend hours walking the city streets of Chicago. Never one to stay home, Zoilo would always venture to meet new people, see new sights, and enjoy living amidst the bustling atmosphere of a big city. Originally from Milwaukee, Zoilo vowed never to return and instead preferred living in Chicago or New York where he spent the majority of his years.

“There wasn’t anything here when I was younger. I preferred living where all the action was,” recounts Zoilo.

It was a tough decision to leave, but after his diagnosis of diabetes, Zoilo knew it was in his best interest to return to Milwaukee to be closer to his family. Zoilo’s health took a turn for the worse, and soon he lost his ability to walk due to an emergency amputation.

New to Milwaukee and no longer able to live independently, Zoilo’s son sought resources in the community. In 2012, Zoilo started attending the United Community Center’s Senior Center. He relies on the ADA-compliant transportation buses to attend the Senior Center. The center has allowed him to meet new friends and participate in daily activities.

“I love coming here because I am entertained the entire day,” said Zoilo.

In the mornings, Zoilo prays for his health, exercises as best he can, and enjoys the company of his friends. On days when the sun is out, he ventures outside with the help of staff or friends.

“When I first met Zoilo, he was cracking jokes. His personality is magnetic. I have never seen him sad or down despite his condition. He is a funny, charismatic, and loving person,” describes a Senior Center employee.

“Here, everyone is equal and will always help each other,” said Zoilo. “They treat me the same even though I can’t walk. The staff always takes care of us.”

After Zoilo’s last major surgery, he recounts how his friends checked-in and made sure he was doing well. They welcomed him with open arms when he returned to the Senior Center. Zoilo does not let his health get in the way of living a positive and happy life.

“As long as you are happy, everything will be fine,” said Zoilo. “Here, I am always happy."