Harvey Clark introduced our speaker, Dan Taylor, CEO of East Valley Adult Resources. “I was at the last Citizen Leadership Institute at the last session, and Dan was one of the speakers. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind speaking for us, and, being a Rotarian, he couldn’t say no.” Dan has been a member of Mesa Rotary for over 20 years and was happy to share with our club.

 

East Valley Adult Resources (EVAR) has been around for 35 years providing a wide array of different kinds of services to people who are over 55, including some who are over age 100. ”We’ve changed as a society so much that the programs we offer are evolving all the time.” For the very fit seniors, EVAR offers active adult centers, including the one in the Multi-Gen Center in Apache Junction. Services include exercise, health promotion, meals and more because, “If you stay healthy, you’ll enjoy life longer.”

 

Senior hunger has become one of the largest issues in the country, because people are living longer, but not always eating well. 1 in 6 seniors are at risk of hunger every day in this country. Sometimes, even though seniors have food in the house, they do not have the capacity to fix it. EVAR has many food-related programs, including Meals on Wheels, cafes in the adult centers, and cooking classes. A key component of the food programs, though, is the opportunity for social interaction. Volunteers can deliver food to the homes, but they are very aware that the personal interaction that occurs as they hand the senior the plate may be the only human contact he or she has that day. “A smile and a little conversation can make that person’s day.”

 

EVAR also has programs to help people who need in-home care. Assistance include non-medical service, well-check visits, medical transportation, grocery shopping, and more. Most of the services are performed by volunteers; EVAR provides the needed training.

 

East Valley RSVP is a part of EVAR. RSVP acts as a clearing house for volunteers. “Between RSVP and our direct volunteers, we probably have between 800 and 1,000 volunteers producing tens of thousands of hours in any given year. Last year, the value of the volunteers was $2 million, allowing us to do twice as much as we would have been able to do without them.”

 

“It all boils down to how we can help keep people healthy and aging successfully.” 38% of the permanent residents of Gold Canyon are over 65. The nationwide average is 14%, which equates to 40 million people over age 65. In 15 years, there will be 70 million people over 65. “So it really behooves an organization like ours to keep asking, ‘How can we help people move forward in life successfully.’”

 

Funds come from cities, United Way, grants, private and corporate donations, and foundations. 91% of EVARs funds go to the programs.