Seniors That Will Inspire You

July 25, 2023

At Housing with Hope, we are forever grateful that our work allows us the opportunity to build relationships with this ever-growing and thriving Senior community. We are welcomed into their lives to learn more about their rich histories and continued dreams.  

We see first-hand the diverse ways seniors experience the realities of aging. Some enjoy the simplicity of a quiet life while others jump into new projects and thrive in social settings. But feeling that they are not forgotten and that they are part of the fabric of a larger community is the same for all.

Today we invite you to learn more about some of our seniors and to be inspired by their continued efforts to learn, give back and be engaged members of our community.


Original Dixon

The third of eight children, Original Dixon was given her unique name by her grandmother. She was born in a log cabin in the deep south but considers NJ to be her home. She and her siblings were raised in the projects of Newark with a view of the Passaic River, and she is currently writing an autobiography about growing up there and using her inner strength to go beyond what she ever thought was possible.

Original graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, spent most of her career as both a teacher and a home instructor, and continues to enjoy volunteering to read books to children.

One of Original’s greatest passions is photography art which started one day on her way to church when she spotted a tree with white flowers and stopped to take a photo. She loves the beauty in the world around her and is always trying to learn more about and practice her photography each day.

She is so thankful for the Golden Arts program that Housing with Hope has brought to her housing facility and has expressed her gratitude to us many times. We’re happy to continue to provide this program and bring joy to all our participants!


Nancy and Tony Mattei

Two of our most dedicated volunteers.

Nancy and Tony Mattei, from Hillsborough, NJ, have made giving back to their community a priority throughout their lives. Once their daughter, Gina Marie, began her work assisting our organization, both mom and dad were quick to ask, “How can we help?” They rolled up their sleeves and jumped right in.

As a RE/MAX InStyle agent, Nancy has decades of experience in both commercial real estate, as well as charitable fundraising. Through her relationships with community business owners, she’s helped to secure an impressive and exhaustive list of items for inclusion in our Annual Charity Golf Tournament Silent Auction. She’s also shared her real estate market insights and offered up her time to help Housing with Hope further its mission of providing housing that is affordable for seniors on a fixed income.

Tony, her partner in life for over 45 years, has dedicated his time to helping serve the elderly community whenever possible. As a Vietnam veteran retired from the US Navy, serving the community has always been a part of his moral fiber. It was his involvement as a volunteer for nearly two decades with the Adult Day Care Center in Finderne, NJ, that sparked his and his daughter’s love of helping those in their golden years shine as brightly as possible. A senior now himself, he joins his wife in fundraising, and especially enjoys making new friends along that journey.

We thank this lovely couple for their dedication, energy, and support to helping propel the Housing with Hope mission forward.


Margaret Cole

We met Margaret during our Golden Arts Program at the Cedarbrook Park Apartments in Plainfield, NJ. Margaret Cole, also known as ‘Sister Cole’ or ‘Sister Praise’, is described by others as “everyone’s best friend” and it’s easy to see why. ⁠

Now 88 years young, Margaret was born and raised in NJ but has traveled all over the world as a missionary and crusader for Christ. She enjoys meeting people of all different regions and cultures, being around people, and encouraging others. Margaret loves a good challenge and has really enjoyed each of the art projects made in Housing with Hope’s Golden Arts program. We have been blessed by getting to know her and experiencing her positive energy and spirit.⁠


Patti Ellyn Goeb

Patti Ellyn Goeb is a long-time participant of our Golden Arts Program in Scotch Plains. What first drew us to her was her friendliness and positivity. Patti brings fun and laughs to the class every week.

Patti views art as freedom of expression. She is so thankful to our art instructor, Danielle, for being so patient with them. “I never knew I could do art. Danielle never criticizes us and she enables me to feel like an artist. I like art. I may not be any good at it, but it’s fun. I thank God every day when I wake up, and when it’s art day, I look forward to it.”

Through all the joys and tragedies in her life, Patti has learned to be grateful for what each day brings. She loves her apartment, the view, and her neighbors. She loves being able to help people in any way she can. She has recently begun to take charge of her health and she consistently strives to be humble, gracious, kind, and loving. These are the exact words we would use to describe Patti!


Let’s Be Social

These are just a few of the faces we get to see and befriend through our work with the elderly in New Jersey. If you have found them uplifting or inspiring, we encourage you to follow us on social media to meet more of our inspiring community. There is so much for us to learn from the seniors in our area.