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Seniors served just right at the 2018 Breakfast and Blues Event

February 24, 2018 was a great morning in Auburn Gresham, as we dished out the grits and served up some down-home blues, at the 2018 Breakfast and Blues for Seniors, hosted by the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC). 

This event is always an organization favorite.  The first quarter of every year, weeks ahead of time the team is busy preparing for the Breakfast and Blues event to honor our seniors. In the previous 12 years, the Breakfast and Blues for seniors was held twice a year at the Thurgood Marshall Library, community room. To help accommodate this popular event, this year, like last year, the event was once again held in the lovely and spacious community room, at the Naomi and Sylvester Smith Senior Center, 8031 S. Halsted. Due to the almost 250 who RSVP'd and nearly 200 seniors in attendance, we just may be looking for an even larger space next year! We are not singing the blues over this, this good news!

The down-home blues, performed by Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters was enjoyed by all, seniors and youth. A fun tradition is for Carlos A. Nelson, executive director/CEO of the GAGDC, to ask Johnny if he needs him to sing? He was not alone! There was a lot foot stomping, dancing and singing along with "Sweet Home Chicago" and a new senior favorite, the Lemon Song. "“You can squeeze my lemon 'til the juice run down my leg," which Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters actually recorded on their CD.

The Breakfast and Blues committee were successful in landing some amazing volunteers for the morning. Joining us for a second year was Jenne Myers, CEO of Chicago Cares and her Chicago Cares staff. Last year, Jenne officially partnered with GAGDC and hired a local resident Cynthia Love, as a part-time resource, to help us drive volunteerism in Auburn Gresham and to add support and capacity to requested projects in the Quality of Life Plan. Local schools, Leo Catholic High School and Perspectives High School of Technology were also stars of the Breakfast and Blues event, as they literally waited on our senior residents hand and foot. The seniors wanted for nothing, or maybe just another cup of coffee and/or juice!

The Breakfast and Blues event was not just about breaking bread with the community. The thoughtful volunteer engagement and consistent planning of this event builds on the Auburn Gresham Quality of Life Plan, strategy issue areas “Seniors” and “Education and Youth Development” and the joining of the two in a strategic engagement approach.

Since its inception, the Breakfast and Blues for Seniors has successfully promoted its relationships with the seniors in the community, by promoting youth (two-generation) and professional exchanges with key organizations like AARP Foundation and The American Red Cross Chicago who coordinate with us to offer services right here in Auburn Gresham, for families and especially for our seniors.

Also new this year, the GAGDC had a Give a heart to GAGDC individual fundraising campaign during the Breakfast and Blues event. We are a non-profit so giving away free services comes with the territory. One way we sustain and grow our services is to secure grants and fundraise. Because we wholeheartedly support the senior residents in the community as a strategic initiative, the "Give a heart to GAGDC" was a small campaign to promote a one-time gift or recurring giving (only $10 per month). Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who gave a heart and supported GAGDC monetarily and those of you who filled out pledge cards for a future donation. It’s not too late to give a heart to GAGDC.

Click to make your tax exempt donation. We appreciate each and every one of you!

During 2018, the GAGDC will be working to help grow the opportunities for interested senior residents to become actively involved in several activities:

  • Auburn Gresham Senior and Faith Based Taskforces, monthly every second Tuesday
  • The 13th Annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival, September 8th and September 9th, where we feed the first 400 seniors in their own senior pavilion at RenFest.
  • GAGDC is celebrating its first Gala fundraiser, October 25, 2018, to raise funds to enhance programs to Seniors, Education, Small Business Support, Health and Wellness, all around our Build On 79th Street and Build on Ashland campaigns,  part of the Southwest Corridor Collaborative initiative. Stay tuned for the Save date, so you too can celebrate with us.

For more information about our services offered to seniors, please contact Linda Johnson at or GAGDC office at 773-483-3696, and she or one of her team members will assist.

Keywords: AARP Foundation, American Red Cross, Auburn Grehsam, Breakfast and Blues, Golden Gate Funeral Home, Seniors

Posted in Auburn Gresham in the News, Business, Housing, Economic Development, Community Highlights


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