With the holiday season upon us, we’re thinking more than ever at Chicago Methodist Senior Services about how grateful we are to be part of a caring and collaborative community. Our work with older adults is greatly enriched by a variety of partners in Andersonville, Edgewater, and the greater Chicagoland community.
As we close out the year, we’d like to take the opportunity to spotlight and celebrate a few of our many community partnerships, like these:
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce
CMSS calls Andersonville home, and our organization is a long-time member of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. This year, our partnership with the Andersonville Chamber grew deeper than ever through several joint initiatives.
For example, CMSS’ Wesley Place was recently featured as an exhibition location for the Chamber’s Andersonville Arts Week. CMSS contributed three featured installations, including two community projects and a display of drawings by a Covenant Home resident. One of those two community projects, which was primarily completed by residents on Wesley Place’s memory support floor, volunteers, family and friends, can be seen here.
In this piece, the bell on each wrapped stick represents the voice of an older adult residing in a skilled nursing community. The opportunity to feature pieces like this one in the Chamber’s Andersonville Arts week is a great way for us to raise community awareness of both CMSS specifically, and of the unique challenges faced by older adults in our community more generally.
Our partnership with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has brought many other opportunities for awareness building and community education our way, as well. Earlier this year, CMSS’ President and CEO Bill Lowe was a guest on The #AlwaysAndersonville podcast, where he talked about the important role CMSS’ programs and services play in the lives of older adults in Andersonville.
We’re so grateful to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce for the countless ways in which they help us connect to other local organizations and our neighbors throughout Andersonville.
We’re proud to call Loyola University both a neighbor and a partner. This year, we developed a partnership with a group of student volunteers from Loyola who were excited about getting involved in CMSS’ arts programming. A former CMSS intern from Loyola spearheaded an effort to gather a group of student volunteers who worked one-on-one and in small groups with CMSS residents experiencing memory loss. Together, student volunteers and CMSS residents created colorful 12-inch weavings using quilting hoops and yarn created from upcycled tee-shirts. This project is ongoing, and the weavings shown here represent just a small portion of the art residents and volunteers are producing through this partnership.
As we’ve shared many times before in past blog posts, collaborative art is a highly effective tool for combatting the social isolation often experienced by those living with memory loss. That was certainly the case here. Residents and volunteers not only created beautiful art through this partnership, they also built beautiful bonds with one another. We’re so thankful to our student partners at Loyola for providing our residents with this unique opportunity to explore a new skill, stimulate their senses and foster inter-generational relationships.
Lyric Opera Stage Performers
Lyric Opera of Chicago is a long-time partner to CMSS, and we were fortunate to team up with their talented performers and staff in some new and innovative ways this year. For example, thanks to performers Bing Jing Yu, Karl Davies, Melissa Trier Kirk and Sonia Mantell, residents at CMSS’ Hartwell Place had the opportunity to enjoy a series of intimate holiday concerts and see world-class musicians in action this year. Many of our residents, staff and volunteers joined in and sang along with the musicians. It’s hard to imagine a better example of a partnership than that!
This year, our partnership didn’t end when the last note of the concert was played. Instead, we teamed up with Lyric musicians and administrative staff to package holiday food for the Greater Chicago Food Depository following the performances. It was a great way to deepen our partnership and work together to make our community’s holidays brighter. We’re so appreciative of all the folks at Lyric Opera who bring music and joy to CMSS.
Here’s to these community partners and many more
These three partners are in good company. They are just three organizations among dozens that CMSS is proud to call our partners. This holiday season, we’d also like to recognize and thank this (far from exhaustive) list of CMSS’ community partners:
- Adler University
- Alamo Shoes
- Edgewater Village
- Amundsen High School
- Bringing Art to Life
- Chicago Cares
- Chicago Fourth Presbyterian Church
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- City Service Mission
- Edgewater Village
- Institute for Therapeutic Arts
- Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly
- National Student Speech Language & Hearing Association
- Northeastern Illinois University
- North Park University
- Northwestern University
- Praying Pelican
- Rainbow Hospice
- Rogers Park Montessori School
- Rush University
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Senior Community Service Employment Program
- Sing Out Loud
- Songs by Heart
- Spiritist Society of Chicago
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Tree House Humane Society
- University of Indiana Alumni
- Vaudeville Chicago
- Village Chicago
- Waldorf High School
- Wright College
- …and many, many more
CMSS is a better place for the older adults in our community thanks to partnerships with organizations like these and so many more.
If you’re interested in partnering with CMSS in any way in the coming months, please contact Ann Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org.