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The latest news and hot topics impacting our local south side communities.

Drop In Pilot Program for Hyde Park Seniors

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Chicago Hyde Park Village (CHPV) is a neighborhood-wide effort to provide supportive services to Hyde Park residents as they grow older in order to ensure they are able to continue to live in the community. It is part of a nationwide string of “Villages” that started in Boston, Mass.

In partnership with a new University of Chicago student group, CHPV will launch a "drop-in" pilot program for seniors living in Hyde Park. The program recently received grant funding from Mather Lifeways, an Evanston, Ill.–based senior advocacy organization, to start up the program.

Each program day will include a light lunch, snacks and activities such as computer skills workshops, discussions on local issues, poetry workshops and Hyde Park trivia games. The pilot will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Friday for three weeks, on May 24, May 31 and June 7, at the Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Susan Alitto, president of Chicago Hyde Park Village (CHPV), and her team of U of C students hope to energize the organization with great ideas that will build a strong program for Hyde Park seniors while strengthening the community.

In the future, seniors may receive additional services, including transportation to social events, assistance with shopping, and a vetted list of businesspeople – such as carpenters, accountants and lawyers – to help with the day-to-day business that is sometimes challenging for seniors.

Alitto attributes the concept of this program to U. of C. student Andrew Holzman, a first-year student studying philosophy at the U. of C. and an intern at the Hyde Park Herald. What started out as an assignment for the newspaper turned into the opportunity to work with Hyde Park’s senior community.

Holzman and Katherine Oosterbaan, a first-year student studying chemistry, will be the primary facilitators of the workshops, but additional student volunteers and professionals from the community are needed.

Donations of resources, such as food and supplies, or funding for the program are welcome. Transportation arrangements may be available. Anyone interested in the program or seeking more information can contact Andrew Holzman at 1-508-397-0321 or Susan Alitto at 1-773-752-6587.