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A retirement celebration for Ellen Butkus, out-going executive director of Senior Connections, was held Aug. 26 at First Presbyterian Church of Evanston.  More than 75 people attended the event in recognition of her achievements. Through Ms. Butkus’s efforts Senior Connections, which links seniors to community volunteers for weekly one-on-one visits, grew into a strong and important asset for Evanston’s isolated senior citizens.  Among the guests were representatives from the larger Evanston community — the City of Evanston, Northwestern University, Metropolitan Family Services, Evanston Skokie Valley Senior Services, Seniors Action Services, Presbyterian Homes, the Mather Pavilion, Presbyterian Homes, Reba Place Church, Second Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church – along with the entire board of Senior Connections and seniors matched with visitors through the organization.

In honor of Ms. Butkus’s service, Alexander Butkus announced the creation of the Ellen F. Butkus Endowment Fund. The fund is intended to help equip Senior Connections with the tools and resources they need to meet the growing demand of senior citizens in Evanston and beyond. The endowment will match all contributions to the fund dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.

 Figures from the Administration on Aging indicate the population of persons age 65 and older is growing at unprecedented rates as baby boomers age and older adults live longer. It is estimated that by 2011, 10,000 people a day will reach age 65.

Senior Connections recruits, trains and supports volunteer visitors, who befriend isolated older adults through weekly visits.  Their meaningful relationships forge connections that enable a growing population of older adults to continue participating in and contributing to the Evanston community.  The program is free and open to any senior citizen.