The beautification of the Nathalie Salmon House is a needed initiative, according to Jim Hennigan, property manager of the complex which houses seniors in Rogers Park, Chicago. “This is very beneficial for our building. We have limited resources so this really helps us quite a bit. To take care of some of the things we have a hard time getting around to,” he says.
Benefitting from the relationship struck between UAW-Ford and the non-profit Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.), a bevy of volunteers – in orange-clad tee shirts – descended upon the senior residence transforming the hallways and meeting rooms with a fresh new look. “Painting has been on our list a long time,” says Hennigan.
Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, UAW-Ford director of Community Service says, “I think it’s important that people understand that we (Ford) do more that build cars and trucks. We’re in the communities where we live, where we work, and where we play. If we can give back to these communities and any way possible – and the smiles on the faces,” makes for a rewarding experience she states.
A rewarding experienced shared by some 35 Ford benefit representatives from across the country that joined the Chicago day of community service, according to Deneen Whitaker, director of UAW-Ford benefits department. “We encourage our benefits reps to engage with the community at a local and national level to give back,” she says.
Both Peterson-Mayberry and Whitaker say working with UAW-Ford’s vice president Jimmy Settles has been “positive and rewarding working around the country.”
Michael Joseph the day’s manager for the paint project said: “We also pick different cities and build ramps for around the country helping veterans and seniors.” Chicago ramp team leader Jeff Hall says working in partnership with United Way and building ramps for seniors have contributed to them being able to stay in their homes and maintain their quality of life.
The quality of life is important to Salmon House residents Joanne Barnes-Hardy and Maria Gradnewi. The new color is “subdued and refreshing,” says Gradnewi describing the community room. Barnes-Hardy said “The way the world is today just a small gesture of kindness goes a really long way. Right now I’m really happy that they came to take care of our building.”
With all the recent cuts in the state’s budget for supportive and senior housing, manager Hennigan says, “This is a real benefit to all the residents.”