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Living Longer Means Saving More

February 15th, 2018 by Ellen Piekalkiewicz

Everyone likes to save money but as we age it becomes much more important because so many of us will be living longer. The average life expectancy is higher now than in any other period in our history. Data from a recent United Nations report shows that the number of people 65 and older rose from 8% to 12% of the total population between 1950 and 2000. This figure is projected to rise to 20% by 2050 and will continue to rise steadily through the end of the 21st century. Living longer can be directly attributed to significant improvements in healthcare services, major investments in medical research, and a focus on universal healthcare coverage.

Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that babies born in 1900 had a life expectancy of 50 years. In comparison, those born in 2012 have a life expectancy of 78.8 years, an increase of greater than 50%. The good news for women is that they generally live longer than men and one in ten will likely live to see 100. The even better news is that women who are 65 and older today will have a life expectancy of 86.6 years and men 65 and older today, 84.3 years.

The numbers are staggering. Ten thousand seniors turn 65 every day. And, with each day, living expenses begin to eat away at a lifetime of savings. This increasing longevity requires wise money management and budgeting. Saving money wherever and whenever possible is imperative for seniors who hope to maintain their quality of life.

In an attempt to help this growing population of seniors economize without having to give up too many of life’s special pleasures, five local senior living organizations and in-home care organizations have come together to support a local senior savings program, “Local Senior Discounts” www.LocalSeniorDiscounts.com.

The collaboration that includes Allegro Inspired Senior Living, Harbor Chase Senior Living, Healing by Nature Senior Care, Right at Home Senior Care, and Clarity Pointe Memory Care helped to minimize program costs that results in an amazingly low cost of entry. Local Senior Discount member cards are only $5.00 and there is no renewal fee. They are good for the life of the card and only need to be replaced if lost.

Gail McDonald of Allegro Inspired Senior Living praises the program, “We are here to help seniors, so supporting the program makes sense. We transport seniors to local restaurants using the Local Senior Discounts Dining Calendar and save them up to 50% of the cost of their meal. Stretching their dining dollars this way makes our residents very grateful.”

The Local Senior Discount Card, its website, and marketing program were created in 2009 by Lew Wilson. Easy to access, the website offers daily specials and a range of retail and travel discounts. Today’s seniors are quite tech savvy and can save hundreds of dollars with just a click of the mouse. Over 65% of households with someone over 65 have a computer and over 58% of those households are on the Internet regularly. Senior computer skills not only contribute to longer lives by expanding communications and research options, they now provide many great opportunities to save money.

Local Senior Discounts has joined in a revenue sharing relationship with non-profit Elder Care Services, Inc. According to Wilson, his goal can be simply stated, “We are here to help seniors save, to help local businesses grow and prosper and to help Elder Care Services deliver more meals and provide more service to frail seniors in Leon County.” In addition, Wilson also sponsors events at the Tallahassee Senior Center, further demonstrating his commitment to seniors in this community.

Cards can be purchased online at www.BuyMemberCard.com or at two locations in Tallahassee, Elder Care Services Elder Day Stay Facility in the Lake Ella Shopping Plaza or at Allegro Senior Living on Shannon Lakes Drive in Killearn. For more information about Local Senior Discounts email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at 850-590-3830.

Elder Care Services, Inc. is a private non-profit corporation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors in Leon and the surrounding counties, allowing them to remain at home with dignity. For more information, visit them at www.eldercarebigbend.org and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/eldercaretally to learn more their services and how to access Local Senior Discount member cards.

Originally published in the Tallahassee.com Community Blog

Now Accepting Applications for the 2017 Roger Kaufman Exemplary Community Agency Award

In association with the United Partners for Human Services (UPHS), the selected agency will be recognized by the 21st Century Council and The Florida State University College of Education Foundation at the May 9, 2018, UPHS Conference in Tallahassee and presented with a $1000.00 award.

Application Due Date: March 23, 2018

Eligible Agencies: All State of Florida registered non-profits providing direct services to members of the Tallahassee-Leon County community are eligible to apply.

Selection Process: A review team will consider submissions that include sections from existing agency grant proposals, grant reports, annual reports, evaluations or research papers that illustrate the effective utilization of data, especially local data, for identifying and prioritizing client and/or community needs. The material should also document the agency’s program impact and outcomes that show the mitigation of the identified need(s) and measurable benefits to the clients served.

Please refer to the award selection criteria and required application cover sheet.

Submission: The attached cover sheet and materials to be considered may be mailed or submitted electronically. There is no specified format for the application narrative but all criteria must be addressed. Agencies are encouraged to use data from existing grant applications and reports to demonstrate their commitment to needs assessment and impact evaluation.

Mailed applications should be sent to 21st Century Council, P.O. Box 10312, Tallahassee FL 32302 and must be postmarked no later than March 23, 2018.

Electronic submissions must be e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and received by midnight, March 23, 2018.


FSU College of Social Work hires director to lead newly established center

BY: LAUREN ANTISTA | PUBLISHED: February 1, 2018 on https://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2018/02/01/fsu-college-social-work-hires-director-lead-newly-established-center/

Photograph of Ellen PiekalkiewiczThe Florida State University College of Social Work has chosen an accomplished expert in nonprofit leadership to direct its new Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children.

Ellen Piekalkiewicz begins her role as director of the center this month. The center was established in the fall of 2017 through the support of The Stoops Family Foundation Inc. and FSU alumni Jeff and Aggie Stoops. The center’s director will guide the mission to generate and sustain transformational knowledge that furthers effective policy, services and research for the betterment of communities, families and children.

Piekalkiewicz comes to FSU with more than 30 years of experience in public policy, legislative and governmental affairs, disability rights and grant writing. In her most recent position, she served as the executive director for the United Partners for Human Services, a membership organization serving human service nonprofits in the Big Bend area of North Florida.

“I welcome this opportunity to work with the College of Social Work, advancing the study of best practices that strengthen communities and establish more holistic support for children and their families,” Piekalkiewicz said. “My hope is to ensure that the efforts of the centers and institutes affiliated with the college synthesize their efforts and opportunities to create collective impacts that benefit communities, families and children.”

Piekalkiewicz also previously worked as an advisory council member for Florida’s governor and Legislature and as a consultant for numerous statewide organizations, local nonprofits and federal agencies. A Florida resident since 2001, she held leadership positions with the Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation as executive director and Disability Rights Florida as director of operations.

“The Center is an innovative and ambitious approach to building sustainable infrastructures for research, service and education,” said Jim Clark, dean of the College of Social Work. “The director must be a leader who can bring people from all backgrounds to the table to develop exciting and effective partnerships. Ellen is uniquely qualified to do this work, and I am very grateful she has agreed to take this on.”

Piekalkiewicz holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College.

To learn more about the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children, visit http://csw.fsu.edu/thecenter.


UPHS Seeking Executive Director

Reports to: Board of Directors

United Partners for Human Services (UPHS), a membership organization of the human service nonprofit agencies in the Big Bend region, is seeking an executive director.

The executive director provides inspired leadership to ensure the mission UPHS is carried out, works with the Board of Directors on setting the strategic direction and internal organizational policies, and is the organization’s chief external spokesperson. The executive director has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of UPHS, supervises staff and/or volunteers; and oversees the advocacy, programmatic, financial, and management operations of the organization.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Ensure all activities of the organization are aligned with UPHSs core values of collaboration, community, and achievement.
  • Work with the board of directors to set strategic direction, priorities, and internal policies for the organization.
  • Identify, assess, and inform the board of directors of internal and external issues that affect the organization.
  • Keep members of the board fully informed and utilize their talents effectively in support of the organization’s work.
  • Oversee the development of creative and innovative approaches to accomplishing the goals and carrying out the mission of UPHS.
  • Be a community leader and spokesperson on the nonprofit human services sector.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field.
  • Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with community groups and organizations.
  • Represent UPHS activities and point of view to local elected officials, organizations, and the general public.
  • Publicize the activities of the organization, its programs and goals.


A level of professional, judgment, and decisiveness to inspire confidence among UPHS members and partners. Demonstrated executive/senior management leadership, non-profit administrative and management experience. Membership management experience (preferred). Grant writing and contract management. Strong communication skills: written, oral, and listening. Ability to work autonomously.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by February 22, 2018. No phone calls, please.


Big Brothers Big Sisters changing perspectives, lives

January 8, 2018 - by Ellen Piekalkiewicz

Inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18. BBBS develops positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people and the Big Bend community.

For the children and youth served by BBBS in Leon County, school success is an important outcome measure. For example, 82 percent of the mentees have improved/maintained their belief that they would not only graduate high school, but go on to college and graduate.

Additionally, because of BBBS mentor involvement, partner schools are also positively affected. In those partner schools, more volunteers attended and/or volunteered at school-sponsored functions.

Risk factors of youth served

52% - Youth have had or currently have incarcerated parent
89% - Low-moderate income (less than $35K /year)
78% - Youth raised in homes without two parents

Big meets Little

Big Brothers Big Sisters targets the children who need us most, including those living in single-parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration. BBBS staff work to find a great match between a Big and a Little.

Throughout the match relationship, Bigs and Littles are supported by a BBBS Match Support Specialist to ensure that both adult and child are thriving. In 2017, BBBS met their goal of making 480 matches! In 2018, they have set the goal of making 500 matches, meaning 500 kids will get a Big. Even with this increased goal, BBBS estimates there will still be 500 children on a waiting list in 2018 because there are not enough mentors who sign up to mentor a child.

Make a BIG Impact

Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Not to mention one of the most fulfilling. You have the opportunity to help shape a child’s future for the better by empowering him or her to achieve. And the best part is, it’s actually a lot of fun. You and your Little can share the kinds of activities you already like to do. Individuals can make an impact by becoming a Big, making an annual contribution, or dropping off used goods at one of our Big Purple Bins, which are placed around town.

Businesses can get involved as annual partners by sponsoring one, or both, of our fundraising events: Bowl for Kids Sake and the BIG Champagne Bash. If you are interested in becoming a Big or donating, please contact Frances MacVicar: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or 850-386-6002

Tallahassee Chamber Business After Hours

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend will be hosting the Tallahassee Chamber Business After Hours on Jan. 18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at their newly renovated office, 565 E. Tennessee St.

Originally published in the Tallahassee Democrat

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