Announcing America’s Outstanding Oldest Workers

In celebration of National Employ Older Workers Week, Experience Works, the nation’s largest organization serving older workers through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), announced today that Hedda Bolgar Bekker 102, and Mazerine Wingate 101, are America’s Outstanding Oldest Workers for 2011.

Hedda Bolgar Bekker was born on August 19, 1909.  She received her PhD in psychology at the University of Vienna.  She fled to the United States in 1938 on the day Hitler marched into Austria.

In the 1970s Bolgar co-founded the Wright Institute of Los Angeles, a nonprofit mental health training and service center and co-founded the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psycholanalytic Studies. The Hedda Bolgar Psychotherapy Clinic offers affordable service to limited income people.

Bolgar is dedicated to improving women’s roles especially poor women and those living in underdeveloped countries. She says, “Women must be agents of their own lives.”

With no plans to retire, Bolgar sees patients from 16 to 20 hours a week and gives lectures, appears in videos and writes.

A great-grandson of slaves and son of a sharecropper, Mazerine Wingate was born on September 20, 1910 in Lamar, S.C.  He quit school after completing the sixth grade to work on a farm.  Later he helped build roads during the Great Depression.

When Wingate began his career 40 years ago at the U.S. Post Office in Lexington Park, Maryland, most Americans were ready to retire.  He still drives to work, where he spends four hours a day, six days a week.

Mr. Wingate has lived to see the effects of segregation and the election of Barack Obama.   His secret to a long life is not smoking or drinking alcohol, attending church every Sunday and eating good food.  His secret to success in his career is ‘be nice to people — everyday’.

In these difficult economic times, the number of older workers who are going back to work is increasing.  The Experience Works SCSEP operates in 30 states and Puerto Rico, providing community service, training, and employment opportunities for low-income adults 55 and older.  The program helps older workers maintain self-sufficiency, and age with dignity.

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