What We Believe
Our Mission is to recruit, train and support volunteers who visit and befriend older adults in Evanston.
We Believe that building friendships across generations strengthens the caring fabric of the community.
We Honor our elders who have been the architects of our communities and we reject Ageism that stereotypes, isolates and undermines the values, capabilities and potential our elders offer.
We Uphold that every person has something of value to offer and that their experiences, skills and interests can have significant impact on the lives of others.
We Know that engagement in community and relationships, at ANY age, promotes wellness, vitality and an enhanced quality of life.
We Welcome diversity and invite people of all ages, backgrounds and walks-of-life to participate in Senior Connections.
2016 marked our twenty-fifth anniversary! And while we're definitely going to take a moment to pat ourselves on the back (hey, 25 is a big deal), it's really not about us. It's about you! The best intentions in the world still need support and commitment to make them a reality, and we could never have gotten this far without the tireless hard work, bountiful generosity, and endless compassion of all our donors, volunteers, and seniors.
We started out in 1991 with one part time staff member, and just a single senior and volunteer match, as a ministry of Reba Place Church. By the end of that first year, we had established 14 new volunteer/senior relationships, and logged 500 hours of volunteer visits. Talk about coming out of the gate strong! But we had only just begun.
Our first five years were a time of rapid expansion for Senior Connections: we hired a second staff member, our Volunteer Coordinator, began getting grants from the Retirement Research Foundation, and expanded from serving just southeast Evanston to the entire city! By the end of our fifth year in operation, we were facilitating 35 volunteer/senior relationships, with 1,750 hours of volunteer visits.
In 2011, we took a big step, and became a fully fledged independent non-profit organization! With grants from the Retirement Research Foundation, the Evanston Catholic Women's Club, the Evanston Women's Club, and the Evanston Community Foundation, as well as establishing our annual Tapestry of Friendship benefit, we took the reins for our own financial stability firmly in hand.
Today our fundraising arm is vibrant and productive, speaking volumes about the dedication and generosity of our donors. Along with the Tapestry of Friendship benefit, we produce an annual 'Stay-at-Home Tea' appeal letter, participate in Giving Tuesday, work in partnership with AmazonSmile and Google for Nonprofits, and have giving opportunities at all of our special events.
Over the years, Senior Connections has established its own place and identity in Evanston. We developed our programming and advocacy arms, knowing that the isolated seniors in our community need not only companionship, but for their needs and voices to be heard and amplified. To that effect, we sit on the Planning Committee of the Aging Well Conference, the Housing Committee of the Age Friendly Evanston Initiative, and the Advisory Board of SASI (Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes), as well as having graduated the Leadership Evanston program, and participate in a cohort of Evanston non-profit organizations.
And as much as we are dedicated to providing relationships and voices to our senior population, we fully recognize and embrace the role that today's youth have in shaping our future. In order to promote a sense of awareness and responsibility among Evanston's young adults towards senior issues, we have an on-going relationship with the ETHS Senior Studies Program, providing high school students an environment to complete in-depth studies of civic engagement. We also have such a large number of Northwestern University student volunteers that we created a Northwestern student liaison position to better collaborate and communicate with NU students.
We have remained throughout our history 100% free to all our our seniors and volunteers. Now, in our 25th Anniversary year, we maintain over 80 volunteer/senior relationships, with over 4,000 hours of volunteer visiting!
We are so proud and grateful to have been able to serve the Evanston community for the past 25 years, and cannot wait for the opportunities that the future will bring. We remain committed to supporting the dignity of all older adults, promoting the value of civic engagement through volunteerism and advocating for the needs, skills and gifts of the senior population here in Evanston.