Steepletown has continued to see an increase in the number of Kent County Senior Millage clients served this past year. In 2017 the number was 103 unduplicated clients; this increased to 119 last year, and for the first six months of 2019 that number is 135. Part of the reason for the increase is that Steepletown was asked by the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan to provide additional snow removal services for Seniors last year. As a result the number of clients for snow removal nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. Steepletown has also been asked by Senior clients to provide additional minor home repairs; in August there were 15 such requests, most of which are eligible under home chore services which are part of the Senior Millage funds.
This has been an exceptional year as well for both snow removal and lawncare needs. The polar vortex required a lot of extra hands and hours back in February to keep our Senior clients shoveled out. For many who rely on visiting nurses, home delivered meals, frequent trips to the doctor’s, etc. this work is critically important. In general the lawn care service supports a Senior’s ability to continue living independently in our community.
The added value is that all this work is the main training component of Steepletown’s JobStart Program. In an Annie E Casey Foundation report entitled, “Youth and Work; Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity” (2013), a strong emphasis was placed on the inherent value of just getting a job. “In the end, work itself is the strongest and most effective ‘program’. Early job experience increases the likelihood of more work in the future.” Having work to do becomes the “learning lab” for the guys in Steepletown’s JobStart Program where skills such as taking responsibility and initiative, working in teams, focusing on problem-solving, and self-regulation can be further developed.
And so this is where your help is needed. Steepletown needs to raise an additional $15,000 to cover the wages for the JobStart participants which allows us to continue providing lawncare service and snow removal for the Seniors who live in our community.
Visit our GoFundMe page to support the cause!