Posted by JRS on Jun 30, 2017
Rotary Community Grant Winner:
‘Buddy Bench’ at Arlington Heights Senior Center
 
Each year, the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights commits to a Community Service theme that guides all volunteer and grant-making efforts. The 2017 theme is Making a Difference in Arlington Heights. This spring, we sought grant applications from organizations interested in launching or expanding programming to serve community residents. Rotary leadership is pleased to announce our grant winners and introduce their projects. Stay tuned for future announcements.  

 

Arlington Heights Senior Center to Install Buddy Bench

Rotary Community Grant Winner:
‘Buddy Bench’ at Arlington Heights Senior Center
 
Each year, the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights commits to a Community Service theme that guides all volunteer and grant-making efforts. The 2017 theme is Making a Difference in Arlington Heights. This spring, we sought grant applications from organizations interested in launching or expanding programming to serve community residents. Rotary leadership is pleased to announce our grant winners and introduce their projects. Stay tuned for future announcements.  

 

Arlington Heights Senior Center to Install Buddy Bench

It can be hard to make a friend, no matter how old you are. That’s why the Arlington Heights Senior Center was awarded one of Rotary’s Community Grants. With the $850 from the grant, the center will install a Buddy Bench with a recognition plaque. Intended to address social isolation among the mature residents of Arlington Heights, the Buddy Bench offers a place to make it easy to connect with new friends. The program is modeled after one started by a Pennsylvania elementary student, whose idea was to “eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground.”
 
Arlington Heights Senior Center’s application cited anecdotal information from partners and staff that isolation among community senior citizens seemed to be on the rise. One group of residents ages 60+ have established a “Meetup,” a group intended to facilitate younger senior citizens’ explorations of activities, interests, and friendships. What’s more, some residents come to Arlington Heights from vibrant social lives elsewhere. When they lose their networks, it can seem daunting to start over. Even the thought of coming to the senior center can intimidate: where does a person start with an overture of friendship?
 
Staff discussion at the center had focused on ways of helping foster friendship for and between older residents. The center noted, “When we learned of this grant, we knew a Buddy Bench would help us address this growing need.”
 
The Arlington Heights Senior Center staff hopes that their new Buddy Bench will help 5-25 people establish new friendships each year. The center’s staff anticipates that the bench may become a permanent fixture at the facility—helping inspire new connections over and over.
 
The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights is dedicated to ‘Service Above Self’ and contributes monies raised through our primary fundraisers, Rotary Santa Run and the Special Leisure Services Foundation Classic Golf Outing. Funds are donated through the Arlington Heights Rotary Club's Community Grant Program. For more information on the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and the Community Grant Program, please visit http://arlingtonheightsrotary.org.