Center of Concern Celebrates 40th Anniversary!
2018 MARKS MILESTONE
The Center of Concern celebrates 40 years as one of the area’s leading not-for-profit, agencies. At a time when communities are asked to help more and more, the Center of Concern has embraced innovation and opportunities to deliver programs to serve older adults, family caregivers and residents at risk of homelessness. The Center of Concern will commemorate the occasion with a number of educational and social events throughout the next year, including our first event – Pinwheel Palooza which begins April 1st and concludes with a grand birthday Celebration on October 12th.
The Center of Concern opened in 1978 when a Park Ridge homemaker and early advocate for older adults named Dorothea “Dee” Heinrich gathered four friends to address the needs of seniors by opening a tiny Office of Ombudsman. What began as a ‘listening post’ for the needs of residents was soon renamed the Center of Concern, a central information hub and referral service for those seeking help with the challenges of aging, economic hardships, and isolation.
Today, the Center of Concern is true to its mission of “providing housing solutions, support services and counseling for seniors, disabled and others in need, enabling them to live with dignity and independence”.
Center of Concern Board President, Kathy Rolsing said, “through the efforts of dedicated caseworkers, volunteers and supporters, the Center of Concern offers a myriad of services, connections, and programs to help residents overcome hardships. Many efforts are personal interactions offering friendship, a smile, a calm voice, someone who will listen and, most importantly, help with solutions and answers. These efforts offer our clients a new perspective on life, a new focus and comfort in knowing they are not alone in facing life’s challenges”.
The Center’s Executive Director John McNabola added, “the agency has been a shining light in our community as volunteers and supporters have assisted the agency in addressing the needs of residents seeking help and support. Over 12,000 services are delivered each year and recently awarded government programs reflect confidence in the Center and the many supportive programs we offer”.
Anniversary Activites and Events
40th Annual Meeting: October 12, 2018
Grand Aniversary Celebration: October 12, 2018
Successful Aging Seminar: TBD
Celebrating 40 Years of Volunteers:
Our April 24, 2018 spotlight: Stan Jenczyk of Niles.
Stan has been a valued volunteer at the Center of Concern for over 30 years. He was lucky enough to have started when our founder, Dorothy Heinrich, was Executive Director of the Center of Concern. Many isolated and homebound older adults had the privilege of his friendly visiting and companionship over the years, one lasting for almost 17 years. He is still providing friendly visits to older adults in the community, and they couldn’t be happier to spend time with him.
Stan’s religious convictions and many blessings brought him to want to give back and help others. He acknowledges that loneliness can very hard to endure, and having someone to talk to helps. Stan feels that “the journey I call life is full of sorrow and joy”. Being adopted at a young age has given him a unique perspective on life and has shaped him into the wonderful person he is today.
Stan’s favorite things about volunteering are the stories of the people he visits and being able to share his. There is always a lot of laughter and says “it has been one of the greatest gifts”. Stan looks forward to his visits just as much as we know his clients look forward to seeing him.
Beverly Conrad has been a dedicated volunteer at the Center of Concern for almost 24 years. She is no stranger to serving her community and recognized the need for the Center of Concern. Her good friend recommended her applying and she never turned back. Beverly has been an immense help working the front desk and scheduling appointments but her main tasks these days is providing telephone reassurance calls to isolated seniors.
If you like people, Ms. Conrad claims it comes easily but she is too modest to admit that she is a special person. She is caring and compassionate which is exactly what our clients need. Beverly does a great job of encouraging and making the people she speaks with feel better. Her favorite line to use when she senses hopelessness is “God doesn’t want you now because he knows you have a bad back and he doesn’t want you to wait in line”. Not everyone knows what to say to cheer people up but she does a great job of being a friend and a cheerleader to the elders she calls. The people she builds relationships are her favorite part of volunteering because they are funny and interesting. She loves to hear about new chapters in their lives.
Beverly was the Center of Concern 2015 Dee Heinrich Award recipient.
Joanne Toenings has volunteered at the Center of Concern for four years, primarily as a Receptionist two half days every week, as well as helping at all of our special events. As a receptionist, she answers, compassionately listens, and directs phone calls; makes Telephone Reassurance calls; and greets clients and visitors at our front desk with kindness, grace, and professionalism. She has helped at all of our fundraisers, doing anything and everything we ask of her. Joanne is an active member of our community and also serves as an unofficial ‘ambassador’ of the Center. Wherever she goes, Joanne tells people about her work at our agency and the many services we provide to residents struggling with challenges relating to aging, homelessness, and accessing resources to remain in their own homes. Without question, Joanne is an exemplary volunteer who continues to show her dedication and commitment to the Center of Concern. We have been abundantly blessed to have her as a volunteer.