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Duckworth announces grant of $42,000 for Senior Services

Updated: March 23, 2013 6:39AM

ELGIN — The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded $41,966 in Senior Corps funding to Senior Services Associates, based in Elgin. That money will give senior citizens in Kane and McHenry counties the opportunity “to use a lifetime of skills and experiences to be part of the solution.”

That announcement came late Thursday afternoon from U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-8th District.

“People read my bio and my background and think sometimes the only way to serve your nation is to wear the uniform of this great country, but really it’s not,” said Duckworth, a veteran of the war in Iraq.

“Serving the military has been a wonderful way to give back to the U.S., but volunteering is also another way, and I think that this program that encourages volunteers to give back and to take care of our seniors is such a great way to promote national service.”

CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than 4 million Americans in service each year, according to Duckworth’s office. That includes Senior Corps, which provides volunteer opportunities for those ages 55 and older.

The money for Senior Services comes from a grant through the Senior Corps 2013 RSVP Competition, the office said. That is focused on helping Americans “stay in place and age in place,” according to Erwin Tan, director of Senior Corps.

It will go to support 575 volunteers at Senior Services, which has maintained an RSVP project since 1987, Duckworth said. The nonprofit has served about 27,000 seniors in Kane, McHenry and Kendall counties for 40 years, she said, “so they have a lot of experience in doing this.”

Those volunteers will assist 300 seniors with transportation, and 900 with home-delivered meals, Tan said. They will help 30 seniors with small home repairs and make “friendly, weekly visits” to 50 isolated seniors, he said.

Volunteers also work with area veterans groups and support job resource fairs for veterans at Elgin Community College and in Woodstock, he said.

“These services are really keeping seniors and those who are gaining in years in their homes,” CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer said. “Oftentimes, this may be the difference between them being able to stay in their home or have to go into some kind of health care facilities.”

“We know that volunteering actually helps you live longer and makes you happier,” Spencer said, “so it’s sort of a two-way street. Those who are helping are helped.”

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