Mission/ Annual Report
We provide a range of programs and services in health, arts, nutrition and recreation. Our goal is helping people maintain their independence so they continue to be active members of the community. We believe in enhancing growth and a sense of belonging while encouraging individual contribution and the sharing of life experiences.
Our teachers, social workers and volunteers provide instruction, assistance and friendship eight hours a day, five days a week. We can’t think of a better way to help people stay in their homes than coming out to join our programs.
The Center welcomes everyone regardless of age, income, disability, sexual, ethnic or religious background. We recognize all our program collaborators and are grateful for their support. Whatever your interests, get to know us. Stay connected with our programs and services. We’re here to help fill your days with creative activities and new friends whether it’s exercising, volunteering or learning something new. Our gym has new gear and great staff. Stop in 8:30-4:30. And take a hike, or dance, lift weights, walk, yoga. For every minute you exercise, you add seven minutes to your life, so says Harvard School of Public Health.
The Council on Aging and the Brookline Senior Center
The Council is a municipal department of the Town of Brookline. The Senior Center is the building. And then there’s the Brookline Multi-Service Center Corporation. That’s our official name for the non-profit that raises funds. (The official name being unwieldy, we ask for checks to the Brookline Senior Center.) The Town’s budget for us covers 70% of our costs. The non-profit raises money to pay for the rest. 30% of our budget comes from you. In 2015 fiscal year, which ended June 30, private donations were $241,000. Here’s how we spent part of it: – – – $33,000 to the Fitness Program classes for 368 participants and scholarships – – – $59,000 for a new van: $27,000 for the driver and gas for 2,987 rides and – – – $27,000 for programs, supplies and food
Brookline real estate developer Roger Stern donated the land on Winchester Street in 1995. Later that year Town Meeting voted to accept the gift and began planning the building. A year later Childs, Bertman & Tseckares was chosen to provide design services. In 1999 Town Meeting authorized $2.7 million in bonds to cover the construction. The Federal Community Development Block Grants program covered the remaining $1.6 million. The Center opened in 2001.
The programs and services provided by the professional staff have grown. Hundreds of people visit each day to finish an art project, stay in shape, meet with friends, play bridge, see a social worker, work in the computer lab and read in the library. We are a community center: a place to make good friends, find something worthwhile to do, and where you can give back in a way that fosters a sense of belonging.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
2018 Annual Report to the Town of Brookline
The Brookline Council on Aging is a resource for residents over 60. Our mission is providing social services that allow people to remain independent. We operate the Senior Center five days a week with some evening and weekend programs. We also work with Town agencies to provide a rich environment that makes the quality of life better for everyone. http://www.brooklineseniorcenter.org
- Geriatric case management, mental health support groups
- Home care: meal prep, errands, cleaning, shopping
- Income tax preparation, job search, computer skills, property tax work off
- Health: blood pressure, podiatry, hearing, flu clinic, Reiki
- Legal clinic
- Transportation: taxi discounts, bus, van, TRIPPS, rides to eye appointments, ride sharing
- Fuel assistance
- Advocacy: SHINE counseling, mental health, SNAP food stamps
- Food pantry, food commodity program, daily lunch
- Fitness center
- Medical equipment loans
- Memory café
- Monthly News and Events, Elder Resource Guide
Advocacy and Financial Assistance
The Council worked with the assessor’s office for property tax relief. A taxation aid fund was formed. A Home Rule Petition increased eligibility income. The number of tax work off slots is 35.
TRIPPS educates and supports people transitioning from driving to not driving. Volunteers and staff held 18 educational programs. TRIPPS developed a curriculum to navigate Uber and Lyft technology.
Vibrant Assistive Technology Program
The Mass Association for the Blind partners with us to host their VIBRANT program that helps visually impaired and blind people access new technology.
HELP celebrated its 31st anniversary as a homemaker service that finds trained affordable workers to assist seniors with meal preparation, errands, cleaning and companionship. 486 people were helped by 88 workers.
- Eleanor Small was named volunteer of the year at the volunteer luncheon. She was cited for her work with the food pantry, the craft fair and the gift cart. She co-leads the out to lunch bunch and is an avid bridge player.
- Brookline High School’s shop program was named Community Partner of the year for its students who do grocery shopping for seniors.
- Volunteers lead seminars, coach ping pong, run the food pantry and reception, and serve as board members. Attorneys staff the legal clinic. 364 people filled 693 jobs.
BCAN (Brookline Community Aging Network)
BCAN makes Brookline a better place to age gracefully. http://www.BrooklineCan.org
- The Age Friendly Business campaign recognizes businesses that are hospitable to older adults. A business applies for an age friendly designation. Features include accessible bathrooms, discounts, and audio, spatial, visual and lighting enhancements.
- At the September annual meeting “Celebrating Age Friendly Businesses,” awards went to the Brookline Chamber, the Economic Development Advisory Board and the Coolidge Corner Merchants Association.
The panel: Paul Saner of the Economic Development Advisory Board, Kyle Perzanoski of Brookline Bank, David Leschinsky of Eureka! Puzzles and Katherine Tallman of the Coolidge Corner Theatre explored the age friendly mission.
- BCAN also participates in Hello Brookline with the Mass Coalition for Serious Illness Care, ensuring that “what matters most” in health care is available to all.
- The Town provides about 70% of the operating budget
- The Council, with help from its nonprofit, the Brookline Multi Service Senior Center Corp, supplements the budget with federal, state and private grants along with donations and proceeds from the Annual Benefit.
- Massachusetts raised its funding to $12 per elder
- Community Development Block Grants support our taxi discounts
- One family foundation underwrites the Drawing for Pleasure class, and another supports monthly birthday parties
- The Brookline Community Foundation supports the Tuesday food pantry. This year, 26% of seniors responding to our survey reported having no food for a whole day 1-10 days the previous month. An additional 18% went to bed hungry at least once in the previous month. The cost of housing and medical care often exceeds income.
- TRIPPS received the last of a three-year grant from the Mass Dept of Transportation
- A grant from ITN America provides free rides to eye appointments.
Transportation is the main focus for fundraising. The majority of that money is raised by the Annual Benefit. Private donations allow us to offer Lyft/Uber ride sharing.
- The Brookline Rotary provides gas and oil for our vans. The driver’s salary is covered by our nonprofit.
- Wade Horowitz LaPointe LLC was honored at the Benefit for its work in elder law, estate planning and advocating for older adults and LGBT causes. The attorneys volunteer in our legal clinic. We honored Ellen Wade, Gail Horowitz, Michelle LaPointe and Katelyn Versiackas for their help in supporting our mission.
The Council collaborates with nonprofits, Town departments and local businesses for a variety of programs. Highlights: Chinese New Year/August Moon, Piatigorsky Foundation concert, Black History month, Brill Building songwriters, Impressionism by ArtMatters, Russell Museum at MGH program, Trader Joe’s getaway party, Underground Railroad tour, Dick Flavin poetry program, Brookline Open Studios, Marie Lavine memorial concert, Elks BBQ and holiday dinner, Documentary films, New Repertory Theater shows, Recreational marijuana seminar, Election forums, Identity theft program, Getting started in genealogy, Sexual harassment in older communities, Storing digital photographs, Big ideas TED talks, Monet’s magic workshop, Public health policy forum, Brain healthy cooking, Adventures in mindfulness workshop, Medical Qigong, Memory café day camp.
- Kate Jovin, LCSW and Michael Allen, LCSW are new clinical social workers
- Jessica Milley-Gee is administrative assistant to the director
- Agnes Rogers retired as chair of the Council on Aging and serves as an honorary director
- Roberta Winitzer served as interim chair
- Yolanda Rodriguez is the Council’s new chair. She was a town meeting member for eight years and retired as department head for mathematics from the Wellesley Public Schools. She serves as treasurer for Springwell.
Our success is due to the dedication of staff, volunteers and our board. We’re grateful to everyone who helps us ensure Brookline is a desirable place to live. We look forward to enriching our services and as always, we invite the community to get involved.