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On Friday, September 27th, Friendship Senior Options (FSO) celebrated its 22nd Annual Sterling event. Friendship Senior Options is the not-for-profit organization that sponsors two of the Chicago area’s leading Life Plan Communities: Friendship Village of Schaumburg and GreenFields of Geneva.
FSO Presents the Sterling Friendship Award
The Annual Sterling Friendship dinner is Friendship Senior Options Foundation’s pinnacle celebration. The Sterling Friendship Award recognizes an individual or organization epitomizing the positive aspects of aging through the example they have set in their own life or in the service to older adults.
The 2019 Sterling Friendship Award was presented to the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) with Marc Riker, CEO, accepting on their behalf. “It seems fitting to celebrate athletic achievement tonight. After all, our very first Sterling Award recipient was DePaul University’s iconic basketball coach, Ray Meyer. And just a few short weeks ago, hundreds of our residents competed in our annual Friendship Village Silver Games and GreenFields Classic,” said Stephen Yenchek, CEO/president of Friendship Senior Options.
The NSGA is a not-for-profit Multi-Sports Organization member of the United States Olympic Committee, dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement. Their biennial competition for men and women ages 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.
“We believe our athletes are some of the best examples to show others how to get the most out of life. A big part of that is just to keep moving, but it’s also to remain mentally and socially active,” said Riker. “NSGA provides fitness, fun, and fellowship. Our mission is to encourage all older Americans to find something they enjoy and to not stop doing it, whether it’s with us or in some other active pursuit.”
Riker said that FSO’s and NSGA’s beliefs and principles are aligned. “Both organizations are driven by friendship, providing a variety of educational opportunities, and encouraging people to keep learning. This all enriches the lives of seniors.”
Accompanying Riker at the Sterling event was 77-year-old pickleball and track athlete Margaret Olawoye, a Chicago-area example of the benefits that come from a healthy, active lifestyle. “Olawoye, known for both her competitiveness and positive, encouraging spirit, has competed in three National Senior Games and was selected as a 2017 Humana Game Changer. The retired teacher is also an inductee to the 16” Softball Hall of Fame,” said Riker.
The Friendship Senior Options Foundation is centered in the spirit of friendship and serves as the philanthropic affiliate of Friendship Senior Options and its communities, Friendship Village and GreenFields. The Foundation values and promotes compassion, education, growth, and social accountability as it invests in innovative and diverse programs that stimulate and advance the quality of life for older adults, and the growth and development of the dedicated professional who serves them and the senior industry.
At the Sterling Friendship event, which is the Foundation’s annual fundraiser, Yenchek mentioned four groups of this year’s beneficiaries. These included four young people who received Friendship Senior Options Foundation’s Paul Schaffhausen Scholarships, helping to offset their college expenses. A group of area residents have experienced and are benefiting from VirtuSense, FSO’s new technology, which supports fall prevention, thus helping to ensure the safety and well-being of older adults. Life Care residents of Friendship Village and GreenFields receive benevolent care if their financial resources are exhausted. This guarantees that they have a home for the rest of their lives. The Foundation also helped finance the purchase by the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District for the life-saving LUCAS CPR device.
“Tonight, we’ve gathered some 250 strong. We celebrate the achievements of our Foundation over the past year. With our Sterling Friendship Award, we recognize the compelling work of NSGA over the last thirty years. We renew our commitment and pledge our philanthropy,” said Yenchek. “We act tonight to make a difference. Thank you for helping make it possible.”
Almost half of older women age 75 and over live alone.
—National Center for Health Statistics