Oak Park and River Forest Townships honored for collaboration

In recognition of teamwork, 'Township of the Year' award bestowed by the Illinois Township Association of Senior Citizens Service Committees

By Matt Baron, Patch Contributor

A state-wide honor lauding its collaborative approach to serving seniors is the latest recognition of the deep teamwork that marks the efforts of Oak Park Township and River Forest Township.

In November 2019, the Illinois Township Association of Senior Citizens Service Committees (ITASCSC) presented the neighboring entities with a joint `Township of the Year' award. The recognition came during the Township Officials of Illinois conference in Springfield.

Township Senior Services Director Pamela Mahn emphasized the instrumental role that has long been played by numerous additional local partnerships, beyond the two townships' collaboration. Those entities include the local police departments, libraries, colleges such as Concordia University, and a host of non-profit organizations.

"A debt of gratitude is owed to all of our partner organizations, local resident partners, and those who have worked before us and alongside us for the benefit of older adults in our communities," said Mahn.

River Forest Township Supervisor Carla Sloan echoed those remarks, noting, "On behalf of all the seniors who are at the heart of what we do, we are thankful for the support of our community in providing the funding that is so essential to delivering this ongoing service."

The ITASCSC was formed in 1982 to help enhance senior services throughout the state's communities. The group promotes the cooperation and sharing of resources and program information among township senior service providers.

Looking ahead, the townships of Oak Park and River Forest are working to develop or deepen a variety of programs, Mahn said.

Those initiatives include the creation of a foster grandparent program; the addition of a new caterer for the Township Senior Services dining room that provides weekday lunches to seniors; bolstering homebound meal-delivery programs; making enhancements to transportation services; and expanding programming for those living with dementia.

"We remain committed to providing efficient, relevant, and responsive services to older adults, their family members and caregivers," said Mahn.

The recognition of the townships' senior services collaboration comes a year after a statewide honor for the combined efforts to serve youths in Oak Park Township and River Forest Township. In July 2018, the Illinois Lieutenant Governor's Office tapped the Youth Interventionist Program as a "shared service best practice" recipient.

Chosen from over 260 nominations, the program was one of 20 initiatives, statewide, to receive the accolade. The project emerged from the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, with a goal of making "local government more efficient, effective and streamlined."

Established in 1995, the Youth Interventionist Program's objective is to minimize and eliminate the presence of gangs, drugs and violence, and to enhance youths' well-being. In addition to serving at-risk youths and their families, the program engages in preventative outreach efforts to empower all children to make healthy and constructive decisions when dealing with the stresses of life.

For more information, please contact Oak Park Township at (708) 383-8060, www.oakparktownship.org or River Forest Township at (708) 366-2029, www.riverforesttownship.org.

The Illinois Township Association of Senior Citizens Service Committees is online at https://itascsc.net/