SJ-R Sunday Column – Senior Services Celebrates 50 years

As originally published in the Our Towns section of The State Journal Register.

In May of 1966 a group of concerned Springfield citizens were finally able to receive funding and incorporated to become The White Cottage Senior Center. One year later in April, 1967 the doors were opened. So, it is only appropriate that we now celebrate these past fifty years and eagerly anticipate the next fifty!

Over the years our name and many of our programs have changed. But what has not changed at Senior Services is our mission statement. Assisting seniors in remaining independent and in their own homes for as long as possible has always been our goal. And it remains so today.

Senior Services of Central Illinois (SSCI) provides non-medical services to seniors in four counties, Sangamon, Logan, Mason and Menard. Our programs are varied and diverse…everything from recreation and socialization to nutrition to transportation to investigating elder abuse to assessing the needs of seniors so they can utilize community resources appropriately. Not being a governmental agency, SSCI provides all of these services through a combination of grants, fundraisers, donations and partnerships with other community resource providers. The City of Springfield, the Springfield Park District, United Way of Central Illinois, Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland are just a few of these important partnerships that make it possible for us to serve thousands of seniors in our community.

A year-long celebration at SSCI/the Springfield Senior Center is underway. Each month between now and April, 2017 will focus on special events to commemorate our past 50 years of service. November will highlight seniors and their art and an art exhibit including woodworking, rug looming, quilting, jewelry making, art on canvas, etc. will be presented at the Senior Center in the third week of November.

December will focus on pictures from the past including scrapbooks that have been kept throughout the years. AND, an all-you-can-eat Breakfast with Santa is being planned for Saturday, December 17 from 8-11:30. As well as not wanting to miss this breakfast of pancakes, sausage patties, milk and coffee, the kids will have the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and give Mom, Dad and Grandparents the opportunity to take some great photos. And, this is the real Santa, so be sure not to miss it!!

Along with the Breakfast with Santa, a miniature Christmas tree decorating contest will be held. Ten trees will be distributed beginning November 14 and then the decorated trees will be judged with the winner announced at the Breakfast with Santa and auctioned off via a silent auction. If you are interested in decorating a tree, please contact Jean at the Senior Center at 503-4629. First come…first serve!

And the fun just does not stop that day because the pancake breakfast with Santa will be followed at 11:30 by a “quarter auction” with all proceeds going to SSCI.

Many other special events are being planned for the celebration of Senior Services fiftieth anniversary with a special Open House held next April, 2017. Keep informed of all of the happenings and all of our services by visiting SSCI’s website at or visiting us on Facebook at . We can help support our seniors in a myriad of ways and we want to. Anyone with questions or concerns need only stop by or give us a call. The public is always welcome.

Karen Schainker is the executive director Senior Services of Central Illinois. Senior Services can be reached by calling 217-528-4035. Look for United Way columns weekly in Our Towns.