by Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly, Chicago Chapter
At Little Brothers, our Summer Vacation Experiences help isolated, lonely elders make fun summer memories and savor beautiful weather, all while surrounded by friends. Instead of watching on as the city enjoys the season, our elders are able to come out of their homes and spend cherished time with friends.
For 13 weeks from June through September, elders escape the city to peaceful Audrey's House, our summer vacation retreat and year-round program center in Batavia, IL. There, our elders are immersed in friendship during a three-night, four-day getaway filled with activities, like a trip to the theater, walking the path that encircles the house or playing card games together.
Day trips to Audrey's House give more elders the chance to enjoy fresh air and wide-open green spaces. Our elders find so much happiness and relaxation vacationing or day tripping that they often tell us their regular aches and stresses disappear while they're away.
We also provide staycation experiences to our elders, bringing the fun and rejuvenation of time away closer to home. We host a Spa Day, a Summer Luau, and go on outings to the museum or aquarium, for example. And our elders get to enjoy new experiences or reconnect with a beloved pastime. Last summer, Charles caught his first fish in 40 years during an afternoon of fishing and picnicking at Busse Woods.
Our homebound elders receive visits from volunteers and staff throughout the year, and summer visits include specially themed games, activities and gifts. Our volunteers make friendship feel like sunshine, sharing their time, laughter and conversation to make special memories and meaningful new friendships.
Nearly 400 elders will have a summer filled with friendship and unforgettable memories. All funds raised through Give65 and your generous support make this possible. Our programs, activities, events and services are always provided at no cost to the seniors we serve.
Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) supports individuals and professionals who are deaf or hard of hearing through resources, awareness, and advocacy. Our primary service project, the National Hearing Aid Project (HAP), seeks to provide low-income elderly and working poor access to needed hearing aids and related services that otherwise are not available them due to cost. We provide hearing aids to low-income individuals on a national scale.
HAP is collaborative program; our process begins by assisting applicants to evaluate resources within their state or community. Our goal is not to compete or replicate existing services, but provide a resource for those not qualified for existing programs. Approvals are based on income requirements based on 200% of the federal poverty level adjusted for local cost of living. HAP does not discriminate by age, race, or religion. The primary service in the HAP project are: accepting and reviewing applications, refurbishing hearing aids, performing hearing health evaluations, and soliciting support and services from others who can help support the project.
HAP works by coordinating individuals and organizations to fulfill a specific role in the process. Individuals and groups collect and donate hearing aids. A graduate student at University of Kansas Department of Hearing and Speech cleans, repairs, processes and tracks the hearing aids. Volunteers and donors raise money and host events to help provide support for the cost of the program. HCOA staff recruits and support these relationships and manage all application, financial and legal functions. The HAP program is unique, because is one of the few that does NOT charge recipients for hearing aids or clinical services in the United States.
Radio Talking Book Network (RTBN), founded in 1974, is Nebraska's only radio reading service. Over 70 RTBN volunteers read print media aloud, either live or as a recording, and their diverse voices are broadcast throughout Nebraska over the radio and internet to blind, low vision, or print impaired listeners. RTBN programming includes: readings from 12 regional newspapers, including the Grand Island Independent and Scottsbluff Star Herald as well as live daily readings of the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star; weekly regional grocery and department store ads; current information from over 70 magazines; and more. Nearly all these publications would otherwise be inaccessible to our listeners. RTBN features local nonprofits and agencies on our Community Conversations, a live interview program; a Veterans Hour; and special programming features. For example, last year, RTBN volunteers recorded the League of Women Voters voting guides for the primary and midterms to be aired in the weeks leading up to the elections. Following the 2016 election, Margaret from Omaha called to say, "Thank you for airing the League of Women Voters Guide. The information helped me so much as I voted for the first time in years." In 2018, RTBN added the Omaha Star, Kearney Hub, and Hastings Tribune to our newspaper readings and introduced a weekly statewide Community Calendar. RTBN programming brings our listeners' communities to them, delivered with care by our volunteer readers. The voices of RTBN inform, entertain, and alleviate isolation, which often affects people with diminishing vision, providing listeners with companionship.
This human and personal presentation reaches listeners via one of RTBN's radio receiver options, familiar, easy-to-use mediums provided at no cost to eligible individuals and care facilities. RTBN's internet stream can be accessed on: our website; personal computers and tablets; two smart phone apps; smart speakers such as Alexa; and two internet radio options. In 2018, three Methodist Hospital locations in Omaha and Council Bluffs implemented RTBN in their facilities using Barix boxes. RTBN began podcasts of our daily live newspaper reading in November 2017 and added weekly department store and grocery ads to the podcast offerings in early 2018. These podcasts are available on our website and iTunes. Warren, a listener from Lincoln, uses a Google Home to listen to the ads every Wednesday at noon, and called to say, "Thank him [volunteer Matthew Leaf] for reading the HyVee ads. I know it's a lot of work and I sure appreciate it!"
Our Campaign is to keep our seniors safe at home. Village at the Bluffs provides low-income housing for seniors. As they age in place they may remain in their own apartments with additional services such as home care, meal preparation and transportation. Some residents qualify for assistance through home and community based service programs. Other residents don't qualify because they are just over the income limit. Our goal is to help those residents afford to pay for services and remain safely in their own apartments.