Happy New Year from the Osceola Council on Aging! As we turn our calendars to 2020, and prepare for the year ahead, we have exciting news for Osceola News Gazette readers. The Osceola Council on Aging and Osceola News-Gazette are collaborating to bring you the “Council’s Corner,” a monthly platform written by key employees of the Council on Aging to share our expansive offering of services and programs supporting low-income residents of Osceola County. Each month, we will educate readers on the council’s latest news, happenings and events, as well as highlighting the many opportunities for local residents to become involved in supporting the most vulnerable residents of our community.

One of the council’s most important objectives is to support the community through the provision of nutritionally balanced meals and diets. In fact, nutrition assistance is the most frequently requested service the council provides. In recognition of the importance of nutrition during National Nutrition and Eating Disorders Month (February and March), we will share focused information, which illustrates our extensive nutrition and healthy eating programs. These programs include: Meals on Wheels, March for Meals, Community Champions, Senior Dining and Food Bank offerings. Additional programs for individuals with eating disorders, diabetic diets and renal and kidney issues are also available.

National Volunteer month is celebrated in April. In 2020, we will dedicate our guest column to honoring the openhearted volunteers who support the Council on Aging through the contribution of their time, experience and talent. Community volunteers support our seniors in multiple areas such as mentoring, guardianship, meal delivery and companionship.

It is well known that May is celebrated as Older Americans Month, an annual event dating back to 1963 when President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month. Every year, Older Americans Month recognizes the contributions of older adults across the nation. This year, the council will do the same, giving us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate a few of our favorite seniors residing in the Osceola community.

Though the council’s name implies services for just the elderly, our scope of services extends to families as well. National Family Month is celebrated in June, and presents the council with a great opportunity to highlight our Building Strong Families program. The community-based approach of Building Strong Families provides direct health and human services to low-income families with children who are at risk for homelessness.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with the history of the Osceola Council on Aging, the non-profit organization has been providing services to those in need for more than 48 years; created in 1971. The council is the largest provider of social services in Osceola County, administering a wide array of services and programs to meet the needs of the community. It is also important to note the council helps an average of 2,170 Osceola residents per week (9,405 clients per month) resulting in a value of more than $10 million of financial support for the community over 2018. Our mission provides services to enable independence and self-sufficiency for our seniors, disabled adults, the disadvantaged and Osceola families in poverty.

We look forward to partnering with the Osceola News-Gazette to connect with you each and every month.

In the meantime, we invite you to reach out to the Osceola Council on Aging to learn more about our mission, volunteer opportunities, and to connect us with those who might be in need of our services.

For more information on our programs, go to www.osceolagenerations.org.

To see more guest columns by Wendy, go to https://osceolagenerations.org/councils-corner/
Published Thursday, January 2, 2020