Father Dowd Foundation
Networking our community
   Many of our beneficiary organizations have voiced the opinion that if they had greater opportunities to network and work more closely together, their activities would be more effective and have a greater impact. In response, the Father Dowd Foundation is working to develop a comprehensive networking program to promote better communication and collaboration among its organizations.
   The program will provide the organizations with an opportunity to more easily exchange ideas, learn from one another, find ways to share resources and volunteers, and form partnerships. Moreover, it will create and maintain stronger synergies, and foster a greater spirit of cohesiveness and cooperation.
Social Isolation
   The social integration and participation of senior citizens are frequently seen as indicators of productive and healthy aging and it is widely accepted that social support has a strong protective effect on health. However, an increasing amount of seniors may be at risk of being socially isolated.
This may be due to a number of factors such as increased likelihood of living alone, death of family members or friends, low-income or poor health. With current trends that encourage more seniors to live longer at home or in the community, the issue of social isolation has taken on a new importance in our community.
   The ‘Reaching Isolated Seniors’ program will provide support for social service interventions that target isolated seniors in order to improve their health outcomes and quality of life. The program will include volunteer participation that will contribute to it being cost effective as well as providing a network of support and purpose for volunteers. The program plans to tie in with the Catholic Action volunteer base.
Reaching Isolated Seniors Program
   The program incorporates a training program for volunteers and staff who will engage isolated seniors into becoming active in Senior Center programs. Transportation to participate in activities at the Centers will be provided through the use of the community bus. Additional activities will consist of group outings, group shopping and educational programs such as being offered to isolated seniors through the Concordia University Perform Center. Pastoral and legal services will be obtained on a needs basis. Volunteers will be trained to respectfully observe and question needs.
Consolidation of Priorities from Our Centers
   We are working on a “One Voice” project to create an “umbrella” group to represent the senior centers. It would be a unified approach to feature the success and priorities of the Senior Centers. Regular communication among the senior centers will focus on best practices in order to share and learn.