Page 25 - Scene Magazine June 2022 4706
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  Local Interest
BY HELEN GUZZO, LMSW
Manager, Calhoun County Senior Services
    County Senior Services is proud to have served 5,732 through its twenty funded programs run by eight trusted non-profit vendors. This represented a slight in- crease from 2020 but is still lower than pre-pandemic numbers.
The top moment of 2021 was the un- veiling of our Centenarians of Calhoun County project. Our staff interviewed 24 county residents, age 99 and older, and contracted with Blufish Marketing to provide professional photography. These stories are a link to Calhoun County history and show the incredible lives our oldest residents have lived. From Robert Holt, who still lives in
The Senior Millage Allocation Committee (SMAC), the 13-member volunteer committee that oversees the assessment of needs and spending of Senior Millage, continued to award the Joanne Konkle Lifetime Leadership in Senior Services Award. In the summer of 2021, the annual award was given to Linda Grap, the recently retired director of Senior Health Partners. Linda has been a strong supporter of encouraging health and wellness among Calhoun County older adults and has a heart
for service. Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2022 awards and can be submitted to Helen Guzzo at hguzzo@calhouncountymi.gov.
To kick off 2021, Calhoun County Senior Services worked alongside the Calhoun County Public Health Depart- ment and CareWell Services to help schedule older adults for vaccinations and helped staff early mass vaccination clinics. Thanks to the team effort nearly 80% of Calhoun County older adults are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
the same house he bought in 1949, to Nerva Tripp who continues to faithful- ly volunteer for Bronson Battle Creek even at 100 years old. This year’s event will take place on July 15, and new interviews are happening now. If you know someone who is age 99 or older, please call our office at (269) 781-0846. We were happy to partner with Senior Times to profile these centenarians in their September issue.
Another exciting accomplishment was the launching of our Senior Am- bassador volunteer program. Every month, fifteen older adults meet to hear about programs available to Calhoun County seniors and to give their input on emerging needs. These volunteers have done a wonderful job spreading the word about Senior Millage pro- grams and acting as the office’s eyes and ears in the community. Ambas- sadors are still being recruited. If
you think this might be the volunteer opportunity for you, please call the office at (269) 781-0846. Our goal is to have a Senior Ambassador for each of the County’s 19 townships.
Once again, our office supported free tickets for seniors to drive through the Calhoun County Fairgrounds Merry Mile light display in Marshall. Almost 400 tickets were redeemed! Our office was also thrilled to be back at Senior Day at the Calhoun County Fair in August.
SMAC also awarded 16 mini-grants to a variety of projects including Talons Out Honor Flight, CareWell Services for providing Safe @ Home kits to homebound seniors during the worst
of the COVID-19 closures, and Albion Community Gardens to help pay for
a part-time gardening assistant. These small awards range from $500 to $5,000 and are an easy way for Senior Millage to respond to emerging needs in the community. Applications can be found on the Senior Millage website.
In September 2021, Milestone Senior Services launched the start of a restaurant dining program at the Copper Kettle in Athens. This program is open to any Calhoun County senior, age
60 or over. Participants first go to the Athens Community Library where they complete the required paperwork and receive their twelve coupons for the month. Then, they can go to the Copper Kettle anytime it is open and order off
a senior menu at no cost to them. This program has been a huge success and
We celebrate the success of our so- cial work interns from Western Michi- gan University, Emily Batch and Julia Brandt. Giving young adults experience working with their elders is invaluable. Programs that serve older adults will continue to grow in the coming years and having new professionals who are excited about working with the aging population and can appreciate what older adults have to offer is of utmost importance. In other staffing news, we hired Rebecca de Finta to be our new administrative assistant and she recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with Calhoun County.
Senior Millage is a valuable resource that helps Calhoun County residents, who are 60 years and over, solve problems. To learn more about Calhoun County’s Senior Millage, call an indi- vidual program or (269) 781-0846. We look forward to serving more Calhoun County older adults in 2022 in the con- tractual programs that Senior Millage funds!
Continuing to Live in the New Normal: 2021 in Review
2021 was another year of change as our world continued to adapt to the new normal of living amidst a global pandemic. Calhoun
we are working on expanding to other areas of the county.
new projects received funding in 2021 including the Albion Health Care Alliance for food distribution programs and CareWell Services to support Heritage Commons Senior Enrichment Center, which is expected to open this summer.
To fund creative, one-time projects using revenue that Senior Millage receives from Firekeepers Casino and Personal Property Tax Reimbursement from the State of Michigan, Senior Millage issued a request for propos- als for Senior Strategic Projects. Two
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, is the Manager of Calhoun County Senior Services, which funds a variety of services for residents age 60 and over with Senior Millage tax dollars. Email questions to seniormill- age@calhouncountymi.gov.
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