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Board member blends roles to serve senior community – Appreciates the perspective seniors can offer

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Inspiration, Senior Living

Published on January 07, 2015 with No Comments

“The generations that came before mine also have the greatest stories to tell.” -- Kimberly Wiseman, PCACS board member

Our board members are drawn to the role through a passion to serve the senior community along with a desire to make an impact in seniors’ lives.

We are fortunate to have members from a cross-section of the community bring their expertise and dedication to the volunteer role.

Kimberly Wiseman is not only a Porter County Aging and Community Services (PCACS) board member but also the branch manager of the Portage Public Library.

“I’ve always loved working with seniors. I figured that PCACS would help me get in closer touch with the senior community here in Porter County. Also, PCACS and the library both help people throughout the county from all walks of life who may be struggling with any of a variety of problems: low income, health problems, job loss, underemployment, or all of the above,” she said.

“It’s helpful and inspiring to meet with a group of caring, intelligent community members who are dedicated to learning about these issues and helping resolve, or at least relieve, them.”

Wiseman was inspired by her grandparents as well as created strong connections during her time working at Banta Center.

“My grandparents were remarkably vibrant people, larger than life and incredibly generous. Working at Banta Center years ago, I was amazed at the resilience and beauty of the members there — after living through the Depression, World War II, cancer or strokes, the loss of a spouse or even children — these people came in every morning, smiling, joking, complimenting everyone … brightening my day,” she said. “I thought: If these people are able to bring so much happiness and light to the world — having experienced all that they have — the rest of us simply have no excuse not to try, too.”

She appreciates the perspective seniors can offer to the younger generation.

“The generations that came before mine also have the greatest stories to tell. They’ve lived through incredible changes — from horse-drawn school buses to the Internet — and had the most fascinating experiences. My generation will never be able to tell the stories that they can,” she said. “Also, I love the no-nonsense, down-to-earth attitude most older people have. It’s such a breath of fresh air, and so nice to feel appreciated for what you are … no more, no less.”

Wiseman hopes to continue to make an impact through both her roles.

“I hope that I can support both the mission of PCACS and the library in a richer, more informed way through my involvement with both organizations and populations,” she said. “There’s a definite overlap in the patron base for the library system and PCACS; I feel that I’m better able to meet the needs of my library patrons as I learn more about some of their circumstances through my involvement in PCACS.”

In her free time, Wiseman enjoys volunteering and recently moved into her “beautifully restored 1899 bungalow.”

“I also love art, nature, food, music and reading non-fiction,” she said. “In past years, I’ve volunteered at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Senior Celebrations day in the fall and with the Sons of Union Veterans, demonstrating period-correct 1860 Civil War widow’s mourning attire and customs.”

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About Bruce Lindner

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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