PeopleCare one of three agencies formed at St. Paul’s Church in Riverside and now an independent agency that set out on a mission 15 years ago to assist and support those who are homebound through a program of socialization, emotional support and access to service providers.

Helen Jablonski, PeopleCare’s executive director, says the agency came to be following research which showed a need for those in the area of help for the elderly. With offices located at St. Paul’s they serve an area which includes Riverside, North Riverside, Brookfield, LaGrange Park and Lyons in providing services which are not available.

As PeopleCare celebrates 15 years, it strives to improve the quality of life of those who may be isolated or unaware of help available within the community. According to the Jablonski, the needs of those who are served have changed over the years and exceed the need of just a visit to a homebound person.

Services of PeopleCare now includes a home visitation program, an information and referral service, an elderly transportation program and outreach visitation program. In 2001, PeopleCare Plus was created offering visitation to those in nursing homes where many of the residents do not have a strong support system. Those needing the service are identified by the facility or family members or from requests by the residents themselves.

The Rider Voucher Taxi Program was developed in the summer of 2001 for the elderly who no longer drive, but are ambulatory and need to go to medical appointments or other needs. The program is only available to villages where there is no existing transportation program.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is the newest program, with an aim of giving support to those who are serving in the role of the caregiver. Caregivers experience stress in their role, and the program helps to reduce the stress and give emotional support in conjunction with Mather LifeWays and Community Memorial Foundation.

Jablonski-who is, well, let’s just say we should all be as young-thinking and acting when we are her age-likes to say, “it’s been the center of my life for many, many years and we have a wonderful board.”

She is supported in the work of PeopleCare by her son, Bruce, who became the associate director after leaving the business world to join his mother. It’s an endeavor he says is so rewarding he wishes he had done it sooner. Much of his time is spent seeking funding through foundations and grants. Other members of the Jablonski family working with PeopleCare are Russell Jablonski, who serves as board’s vice-president, and Scott Jablonski, a committee member.

PeopleCare-compassionate, supportive, accessible and responsive-has built on its mission statement and lives out its vision statement:”No older adult in the last third of life will feel abandoned and will be able to live out their life in the most productive way.”

Bruce Jablonski notes they are always in need of volunteers to help with the mission of PeopleCare but they also need to identify those who are in need of services. At present more than 1,700 clients are served in some form by the volunteers and the need will increase.

Anyone interested in learning more about People Care or in need of their services can contact them at 442-1223. They are also available to send a speaker to groups who would like to learn more about PeopleCare.