Several years ago the Women’s Philanthropic Network, now the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) reported quote “with the aid of research, fact finding and data collection, uncovered a severe lack of coordinated services for Collier County’s most vulnerable seniors.”
This finding led to the creation of Collier Senior Resources (CSR)
spearheaded by The Honorable Kathleen Passidomo. CSR was incorporated and received a non-profit designation 501(c) (3)eight months later in October 2010.
The Board of Directors was formed and its mission was established:
“To provide comprehensive information regarding services, resources that affect the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers in Collier County, empowering them to maintain independent and meaningful lives.”
CSR began its activities by attacking the information and resources part of its mission. A comprehensive web site, ‘Collier County Resources Without Walls’ (www.CollierSeniorResources.org) was developed; this web site is delivering key resources for those in need of senior services.
In November 2012, CSR sent out a call to the non-profit agencies providing services for seniors to attend a conference to identify service gaps and to begin the effort to coordinate the delivery of services. The attendance was overwhelming. After much discussion the group decided to rename itself as the Leadership Coalition on Aging (LCA). The coalition opted not to become a stand- alone non-profit organization; LCA asked CSR to be its support organization. Would CSR provide a communications portal on the web site for the members to communicate with each other? CSR delivered. LCA also convened the ‘Conference on Aging’ specifically for professionals dedicated to seniors: the first was held in April (? 2013 and a second will be held in May 21, 2014. These Conferences have been welcomed and well-attended thanks to the efforts of LCA and its members.
During the early meetings of the LCA, the non profits decided that a Collier County Senior’s Needs Assessment Study should be under taken and approached Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) who accepted the assignment.
The study reveled that there are ~ 57,600 seniors living in the area studied and they are located in three distinctive areas within the County—North Naples, Golden Gate, and East Naples. The Golden Gate and East Naples area have a substantial Latino and Haitian flavor.
The Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) was already operating in North Naples and they have successfully opened, as of this month, a Senior Center.
CSR with the FGCU study in hand, approached the County Commissioners for permission to use the existing Old Golden Gate Library. We received the OK in November. What excitement for the organization. Since that time, we have been working on plans to begin operations in the September – October time frame.
The Board has had one clean up session in order to allow a non-profit agency, Experience Works to move in. We have also put a Professional Advisory Committee in place to help us space plan the location so it can be used by many different agencies. CSR envisions that the following services will be available at the Golden Gate location: a daily lunch program, Food Pantry, computer laboratory/training, educational programs, and use by support groups i.e. Alzheimer’s groups, and or course, fun and games…
At present CSR is hard at work raising funds to hire a Program Director. There will be a wine reception at Comerica on Wed. March 19h.