Community outreach has always been an important focus for the Longboat Island Chapel, and with the addition of its Aging in Paradise Resource Center, the church will soon be able to expand its network to help more people than ever.
“This is a dream that I’ve had for a long time,” says the Rev. Ken Gill. “The goal is to take what we’re doing as a congregation to the next level by bringing it out into the community.”
The Aging in Paradise Resource Center will act as a liaison between individuals facing age-related issues and the organizations and services that are available to them. Individuals will be able to contact the center with questions regarding everything from memory loss to financial planning and receive expert guidance. There will be no charge for the services.
“The idea was born three or four years ago out of what we were seeing in our own congregation,” says Gill, who cites the average age of Longboat Key residents as 67. “Our goal is to help people age gracefully and stay as healthy as they can for as long as possible.”
Gill hopes to partner with organizations, facilities and other churches throughout the area and will be meeting with potential partners later this month to finalize details.
Another key component of the project is the creation of an Assessment and Intervention Ministry team, or an AIM. The AIM team will be comprised of several people who will visit individuals in their homes to assess their situations and determine which services are necessary.
“There are so many great resources out there,” says Gill. “But people go into crisis mode and they don’t know what to do or where to find the help they need. That’s where we come in.”
The Aging in Paradise Resource Center will be located on the second floor of the Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive. The 6,000-square-foot space, which was previously used as a meeting room and a Sunday school room, will be dedicated to the program. Renovations are expected to begin in November and will include new flooring, higher ceilings and the addition of elevators and handicap-accessible restrooms.
The estimated completion date for the $250,000 project is April 2011.
‘Hooray! It’s a Soiree’
What: Fundraiser for the Longboat Island Chapel’s Aging in Paradise Resource Center
When: 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20
Where: Longboat Key Club and Resort Harbourside Dining Room, 3000 Harbourside Drive
Honoring: Rhea Chiles
Call: 383-6491 or visit www.islandchapel.com
Contact Maria Amodio at [email protected]