• 13 Aug 2018 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    MINNEAPOLIS (June 28, 2018) — East Side is announcing the closure of its Adult Day at Friendship Center program on September 14, 2018. Friendship Center has struggled to stay competitive in a changing adult day services industry since 2013, and East Side’s board has been considering various options and solutions since 2015.

    Why is the Friendship Center closing? - One of East Side’s core priorities is that older adults are valued, socially and intellectually engaged, and able to live in the community. While the Friendship Center certainly supported this priority, it was falling behind other similar programs for reasons outside of East Side’s control. Emerging best practices for Adult Day Centers suggest on-site presence of medical staff, housing services, and large dedicated spaces designed specifically for older adults. Our research shows that there are better available options in our community with more tailored and robust services.

    What will happen to our Adult Day clients? -East Side will work with our clients, their families, and social workers and case managers to actively support individual transition plans.

    What will happen to Friendship Center staff? - Friendship Center staff positions will end on September 14. We are deeply grateful to the staff for their many years of care and passion in nurturing the Friendship Center community. We will continue to work closely with our team and provide employees with transitional support.

    What will happen to East Side’s older adult programming? -East Side will continue to grow our services for older adults and their families, including Empowering Vital Aging health and wellness classes, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), accessible transportation, and senior dining. Our future vision includes intergenerational programming integrated into our main building that will allow for fitness classes, social engagement, space for educational workshops, and health and wellness classes.

    “I am sorry to deliver this sad news. Over the years Friendship Center has enabled older adults to live and thrive where they want. It has been East Side’s honor to serve families in the community through Friendship Center over the last four decades,” said Kristine Martin, President of East Side.

  • 03 Jan 2018 1:13 PM | Deleted user

    This year, the Youth Department at East Side Neighborhood Services brought back a special tradition — Bovey Family Camp.

    Our trip to Camp Bovey — located in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin — was the kick-off of a two-month series of experiential education events for students and adult caregivers alike. All activities were generously supported by the Minnesota Ornithological Union and the Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter.

    Our trip began on the cliffs of Hawkridge in northern Duluth. We were part of the crew who watched the migration of hawks — some of us even got to hold a wild hawk and release it after it had been banded. There were fascinating bird wings, bones, skulls, and talons that we could touch and feel.

    We went on a perilous hike along slippery rocky slopes overlooking the Superior Hiking Trail and the grand Lake Superior. Youth, parents, and staff alike felt the magic of the northern point of such a special migration. The staff of Hawkridge "banded" the youth with their current "wingspan" widths, shared binoculars and chairs with our senior participants, and showed us how dragonflies grow from nymphs to winged flying creatures who also take part in their own migration.

    On our way from Duluth to Camp Bovey, we stopped along the beaches of Lake Superior. The plan was to look at the water and admire its magnificence, but then a few toes wanted to see how cold it was... then a few finger tips needed to touch the glistening pebbles... then a few ankles wanted to experience the push and pull of the incoming waves.... and before we knew it, this was a full-fledged swimming session! Many of the children had never experienced tides and waves.

    After our Duluth adventure, we returned to Camp Bovey. The kids who attended Bovey taught their grown-ups what Hodaggers do come nightfall — late into the night, we roasted s'mores, played games, and sang songs led by camp staff.

    In the morning, before we returned to Minneapolis, families learned to throw hatchets, canoe, and explore the wilds of Boveyland.

    In October, the Luxton Learners began a four-week study of bird anatomy, physiology, and migration patterns. Artist-naturalists from Silverwood Park of the Three Rivers Park District used art as a medium for engaging youth in the science of winged creatures, and they invited us on an all-day field trip to observe birds on the pond.

    As a finale, we brought our two community-based programs together. The Luxton Learners performed an interpretive migration dance wearing the masks and bird costumes that they had created. Mulberry Junction kids stepped in to fill the spots of youth who couldn't make it to the event, and families from both programs shared the celebration of learning together.

  • 15 Dec 2017 1:06 PM | Deleted user

    James was one of millions of older adults surviving on food stamps and struggling to find work before he heard of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

    Like many Americans, James saw his financial situation become increasingly insecure as he grew older.

    “Then a friend suggested, ‘Why don’t you try East Side Neighborhood Services?’” James says.

    Through SCSEP — a major program of the Older Americans Act and the only federal job training program focused exclusively on low-income older adults — East Side helps people like James develop their skills and update their resumes to achieve unsubsidized employment.

    “It’s difficult to break the cycle of poverty, especially at an older age,” explains Susan McCauley, Chief Performance Officer at East Side. “But we want older adults to have work that reflects their wealth of experience.”

    Through SCSEP, participants secure temporary, part-time employment at local community, faith-based, and public agencies, supporting these organizations as they carry out their missions.

    James was placed at Brian Coyle Center, a location of Pillsbury United Communities in the heart of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

    “He’s such a great employee. He does what he does with interest and passion,” says Amano Dube, Director of Brian Coyle Center.

    For James, SCSEP provided much more than work: “They placed me where I could get more resources, like computer classes, on top of a job.”

    And for Dube, SCSEP participants like James fill critical gaps in staffing. “Most of our work is done with help from senior aides,” he says. “We care for them, and they care for the community.”

    In fact, James became so essential to Brian Coyle Center that Dube decided to hire him as a permanent, full-time employee when James completed his SCSEP training.

    “SCSEP restores dignity because it removes older adults from isolation and makes them feel valued as people,” says Dube.

    Kristine Martin, President of East Side Neighborhood Services, agrees: “What we’re trying to do is change the paradigm and break down the lens of aging. We want to change cultural patterns to support lifelong learning and engagement.”

    For Martin, SCSEP exemplifies East Side’s mission to foster the development and well-being of individuals and families.

    “SCSEP is a model of how — through lifelong learning and engagement — we can strengthen our community and support its well-being,” says Martin.

  • 01 Nov 2017 12:48 PM | Deleted user

    Most internships don’t begin with a basketball bet.

    But for Charlie — a participant in the FutureConnect program at East Side Neighborhood Services — losing on the court was the first step toward gaining professional skills.

    When Charlie graduated from Menlo Park Academy Alternative High School, another program of East Side Neighborhood Services, program coordinator Perris Johnson suggested that he enroll in the 2017 FutureConnect cohort. 

    Through project-based instruction, participants in FutureConnect cultivate work readiness and explore career pathways. For someone like Charlie, who dreamed becoming a chef and owning a restaurant, FutureConnect offers relevant internships that build both technical and ‘soft’ skills.

    Even so, Charlie wasn’t quite convinced — which is when Perris suggested a bet. “If I won a pick-up basketball game against him, he would enroll in the program,” Perris says. “But if I lost, I couldn’t bring up my program to them again.”

    When Perris won the game, Charlie honored his bet and enrolled.

    “Not knowing what to expect, Charlie was a little resistant at first. But as the weeks went on, he showed more of an interest in and a commitment to the program,” says Perris.

    Each program cohort moves through four phases together, starting with work readiness training and career pathways exploration. Following these foundational stages, participants pursue advanced training and internships in a field that interests them.

    When the 2017 cohort arrived at the internship phase, Charlie naturally gravitated toward the Hospitality pathway, looking for an opportunity that would provide hands-on experience in the kitchen as well as an introduction to the business side of running a successful restaurant.

    Now, Charlie is completing an internship at The Lyn Hall — a new, upscale café located in South Minneapolis. Perris says that “Charlie has shown hard work, commitment, and maturity through this whole process.”

    “He will definitely be successful in the hospitality field,” says Perris.


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