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Every Day Hero Dedicated to Serving Seniors

March 20, 2018, by Amber R. Tynan, Executive Director, United Partners for Human Services

For Ed Gines, Senior Solutions Specialist at Elder Care Services, no two days look alike. And after meeting our soon to be client, Mr. Rollins, this couldn’t have rung more true. Their meeting set off a several-month-long journey that included the efforts of the entire community.

Late last September, Mr. Rollins was living out of his van in an area state park with his best canine friend Daisy. He was in need of hospitalization and surgery that required a lengthy stay in a rehabilitation facility, but he wouldn’t enter the facility without assurances from Ed that Daisy would be well cared for.

As one of the area’s most compassionate advocates for seniors in need, Ed didn’t hesitate to offer to care for Daisy at his own home while Mr. Rollins convalesced. Unfortunately, Daisy didn’t socialize well with Ed’s other four-legged residents. A number of frantic hand-offs among other Elder Care Case Managers ensued. None were successful. With no other options, Ed sent an SOS to the Leon County Humane Society. The staff graciously offered to help by providing care during the week and arranging for Wagland Kennel owners Jeff and Patty Wagner to provide free boarding and care on the weekends. They even convinced Melissa Peterson to donate several private behavioral training sessions to help Daisy with her socialization.

As December arrived, the weather began turning colder and Mr. Rollins was able to get around again. Daily visits to the Humane Society became his number one priority. Daisy would immediately begin barking with excitement as she heard his van pull up to the building which would soon be closed for the fast approaching holidays. Wagland Kennel was also booked solid, creating another problem for Ed to solve. With help from Elder Care’s United Way grant, a case of Mom’s meals and dog food was purchased and extended stay housing was arranged so Daisy and Mr. Rollins could be housed and fed through the end of the year. These accommodations were necessary because soon both of them would both be moving into their permanent spot – the Dwellings complex on Highway 20 and Capital Circle NW. Builders were putting the finishing touches on Mr. Rollins very own tiny house, which was completed by the first of the year.

Stories like Mr. Rollins’ play out every day in our office. At the heart of our mission is a desire to care for seniors in a way that honors their dignity and improves their quality of life. This can only be accomplished by spending time with them and learning what makes them happy and what they cherish most. From those personal conversations, we create individualized care plans that support their needs and bring them joy. This is what compassionate, community-based care looks like in action.

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.

Originally posted to the Tallahassee.com Community Blogs

UPHS Announces New Executive Director

Photo of Amber R. TynanUPHS is pleased to announce that we have appointed Ms. Amber R. Tynan as our new Executive Director. We are confident that Amber will hit the ground running and be a valuable asset to the continued growth of our organization. Amber's official first day will be April 2, 2018. You will be able to welcome her at the UPHS Membership meeting scheduled for April 5 at 2 p.m. at the American Red Cross.

Amber has more than 13 years of non-profit management experience and is no stranger to the Big Bend Nonprofit Sector. She has spent most of her career consulting with non-profits ranging in asset sizes of less than one million to five-hundred million - finding ways to improve their operational efficiency and diversifying revenue streams while creating alternative solutions to meet the needs of their target demographic and local communities.

Amber has been recognized for her demonstrated commitment and performance in our nonprofit community as the Fundraiser of the Year by the Big Bend chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, "Leader of the Year" by the Leadership Academy of North Florida, Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know, Golden A.C.E. Recipient, the Tallahassee Magazine’s Women Who Mean Business Rock Star Award Recipient, Girl Scout Council of the Panhandle’s Women of Distinction Nominee and a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 35.

A philanthropist at heart, Amber enjoys volunteering within the community and serves on multiple boards sharing her personal philosophy of “together we’re better.” Amber is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in English and Communication. Amber and her husband Ray welcomed their daughter Finnley-Ann Harper in 2016 and when she is not at the office, you can usually find Amber SCUBA diving or on their boat in the Gulf of Mexico.

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.


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