History of Senior Community Services

1950

  • Founded under the name Suburban Recreation Association (SRA)
  • Coordinate, support & fund local suburban community councils

Late 50s

  • SRA employee organized the first senior citizen club and went on to organize more than 42 senior clubs with many communities having more than one club.

1968-1973

  • Cooperative study done with University of Minnesota of senior clubs & out of this came the Suburban Senior Council made up of the Presidents of the 42 Senior Clubs. The Suburban Senior Council organized bus trips & sponsored large events like dances and fairs.
  • Senior Travel program, “Partners in Travel”, was founded which had the objective of helping widowed/single women partner with each other to share expenses/lodging on coordinator organized trips. “Partners in Travel” was a successful and profitable program operated by SRA until the mid 70s.

1973-1981

  •  SRA changed its name to Suburban Community Services
  • All youth programs were dropped/turned over to local Parks & Rec Departments except for a couple that focused on serving low income apartment complexes.
  • Two new programs were started:
    – “New Horizons” – a program for young adults with mental retardation that provided social/recreational activities while “main streaming” the participants
    – “Speak Out” – a program where seriously disabled individuals would speak before groups, civic clubs, school children, etc. with the message that “we are people too, our disabilities show, your’s don’t,” and “the abilities of those with disabilities”.
  •  “Community Planning” department was added, whose purpose was to identify social needs in the community and find/organize resources to meet those needs.
  •   By 1980, Suburban Community Services had been awarded more Title III grants than any other organization in the State of Minnesota. Most of the local funding was to support Senior Centers.  A highly innovative and successful Title III grant started the Senior Outreach Program.

1981-2013

  • Suburban Community Services changed its focus once again to focus on just one single population, seniors and changed its name to Senior Community Services. It was a painful change as friends, volunteers, board members and co-workers were “spun off” to other organizations. Community Planning was discontinued. Speak-Out was awarded to Courage Center with New Horizons being transferred to Hennepin County Association for Retarded Citizens.
  • With only elderly as its focus, Senior Community Services could add depth and breadth to its senior services.
  • Senior Centers started by Senior Community Services
  • The first Senior Community Services senior center was located in an old gas station owned by the City of Minnetonka. Senior Community Services worked with the city to purchase and remodel an old church in the Glen Lake area as the first true Senior Center. The Glen Lake facility functioned as the Senior Community Services/Minnetonka Senior Center until the new Community/Senior Center building was constructed on the City Hall campus.  The Minnetonka Senior Center is an affiliate of Senior Community Services.
  • Delano Senior Program – now called the Delano Area Senior Center and is an affiliate center of Senior Community Services
  • Eden Prairie Senior Center was founded by Senior Community Services and assumed by city of Eden Prairie once it became successful
  • Senior Community Services held a four year contract with the city of Chanhassen to organize and staff a senior center with the city of Chanhassen assuming control at the end of the four years
  • Brooklyn Park’s first Senior Center was organized by Senior Community Services
  • Worked with the City of Coon Rapids to construct a new Senior Center
  • Worked with the City of Robbinsdale to found Robbinsdale Senior Center
  • Founded the Buffalo Senior Center
  • Started the Tamarac Senior Center, but closed it
  • Plymouth Creek Senior Center contracted center director for city senior center until 2015
  • Founded the Southshore Senior Center in Excelsior and helped raise funds to build a new Senior center in Shorewood
  • Westonka Senior Center became The Gillespie Center in Mound when it had to find a new location after the school building it had been using was sold. The Gillespie Center is the only center in Minnesota-owned by a private non-profit group, and contracts with Senior Community Services to provide its Director.
  • Monticello Senior Center, second oldest center in Minnesota, contracts with Senior Community Services to provide its Director
  • Crow River Senior Center is most recent center founded by Senior Community Services and the City of St. Michael contracts with Senior Community Services to provide its Director
  • HOME (Household and Outside Maintenance for Elderly):
    – Was transferred program from South Hennepin Human Services.
    – Year’s later Robbinsdale School District’s Senior Chore Program was also transferred to Senior Community Services, which doubled the territory served by the HOME program
  • In the 80’s, Senior Community Services began a program called Seniors Serving Business with the dual purpose of raising revenue for the agency while providing employment to the elderly. This program ended in the early 90’s when Senior Community Services determined that it had met its mission of proving the employability of retirees.
  • Transportation Services:
    – Senior Community Services began providing dial-a-ride services to seniors
    – Dial-a-ride services lost funding, but volunteers continue to provide rides to seniors
  • Health Insurance Counseling:
    – Piloted the first Health Insurance Counseling service in Minnesota. This is a state-wide program.
  • CareNextion:
    – Web-based caregiver support program was developed
  • Senior Partners Care:
    – Acquired Senior Partners Care from Volunteers of America
    – Designed to help low to moderate income Medicare recipients limit their out-of-pocket medical expense

2014-Present

  • HOME program expanded to serve Woodland, Deephaven, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Long Lake, Spring Park, Mound and Greenwood
  • HOME acquired CEAP’s chore program serving Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Osseo
  • HOME acquired Jewish Family & Children Services’  homemaking program
  • HOME program acquired household chore program serving Minneapolis seniors from NIP (Neighborhood Involvement Program), which expanded the HOME program’s reach to include hundreds more seniors in Minneapolis
  • The Spring 2015 issue of MNSights Magazine lists Senior Community Services as one of twelve nonprofits that were most frequently cited by experts in the Philanthropedia survey as having high-impact in aging. Link to the article https://www.mnpartners.org/mnsights/articles/we_ask_the_experts/the_future_of_aging/
  • Received Training To Serve 2015 John Yoakam Award for service to LGBT Elders
  • Senior Community Services was selected as a recipient of Stratis Health’s 2016 Building Healthier Communities award, which support initiatives that promote a culture of health care quality and patient safety in Minnesota.
  • With a passionate commitment to service, Senior Community Services mobilizes the community to Reimagine Aging through these programs:
    • Household & Outside Maintenance for the Elderly – HOME (Minneapolis and west metro): High-quality and affordable home maintenance and chore services are delivered by trusted professionals and community volunteers – the largest senior chore program in the state.
    • Senior Partners Care (statewide): A community service designed to help low to moderate income Medicare recipients limit their out-of-pocket medical expense.  We do this by partnering with community medical providers/systems who agree to accept Medicare as payment in full for most Medicare eligible services for our members.
    • CareNextion Care Coordination Tool (statewide): Easy-to-use online tool enables care giving teams to coordinate tasks, locate resources, and get live help from a resource specialist, bringing together the support needed to help their loved one live a vital and engaging life.
    • Medicare Insurance Counseling (Hennepin and Wright Counties): Group workshops and one-to-one support help seniors make the best choices for Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance options.
    • Senior Outreach & Caregiver Services (west metro): Resource specialists work directly with seniors and those who care about them to identify the best combination of affordable community resources to help each senior age in place with dignity, safety and health.
    • Senior Centers (west metro): Six affiliated senior centers help seniors discover a variety of intellectual, social and physical programs to stay active and healthy in their community.