In the Riverside-Brookfield area, people don’t have to look hard to find services or help when needed. Riverside Township and Lyons Township have an abundance of services – for seniors, people with disabilities and people who simply need help – which is only a phone call away.

PeopleCare which offers a variety of senior services and is based in Riverside, has a reputation for helping those in need through visitation, meals, lifts to appointments, shopping and social gatherings to name just a few.

Recently, I was introduced to a program known as Pillars, whose brochure states that it is devoted to “caring for communities for 80 years and counting.” With administrative offices and counseling services in Berwyn and LaGrange Park, Pillars also has community centers which respond to the varying needs of the communities.

Its beginnings took place in the 1920s through the Township of Berwyn, providing assistance for those needing food and clothing. It later expanded by offering teen programs, and in the 1950s became Berwyn Family Services.

As needs increased, child and adolescent programs were added, along with an early childhood program. Substance abuse services were established and a crisis intervention team put into place with the opening of Foxfire, a day treatment center in the 1970s. In 1979, Constance Morris House opened, giving aid to women and their children who were victims of domestic violence. As times changed more programs were established to meet the needs of the area.

What we now know as Pillars is the result of mergers of several organizations, one of those being the Fillmore Center for Human Services in Berwyn, named after longtime board member and Riverside resident Lorin Fillmore. In 2006, Pillars was created.

Pillars serves more than 10,000 clients annually with a staff of almost 200 people. One of their goals is to meet the challenges of today and build a healthy community by providing quality mental health and social services for all ages. Their presence can be found in homes, schools, police stations, court houses and emergency rooms throughout the area.

To learn more about Pillars, its services, its board of directors and how it is funded you can visit their website at www.pillarscommunity.org.