April 17, 2014 – The University of Utah College of Social Work had been awarded a $75,000 grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, establishing the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Neighbors Helping Neighbors Scholars program.
The grant will provide financial support for student interns working with the College of Social Work’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) program, which helps older adults “age-in-place”—in their neighborhoods and communities—rather than in institutions. By developing a network of support for older adults, many of whom lack family support and financial resources, these individuals are able to remain in their own homes, saving national, state and local governments, as well as private citizens, billions of dollars every year. Additionally, research shows that older adults who are able to remain in their own homes experience improved mental and physical health.
“The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation recognizes the demographics of our nation are rapidly changing,” said Fran Wilby, executive director of the College of Social Work’s W.D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging. “Every day, approximately 10,000 American baby boomers celebrate their 65th birthdays. This dramatic shift necessitates educational institutions step-up the preparation of aging-savvy professionals. I’m proud to say that we are at the forefront of educating students to provide care, consider policy implications, and generally prepare for the future of our country’s older adults. With the addition of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Neighbors Helping Neighbors Scholars program, our reach will now extend much further.”
“Our directors are pleased to assist the College of Social Work with this program, knowing that it will enrich the health, well-being and happiness of the many seniors who are served, helping them maintain greater independence and the satisfaction of remaining in their own homes,” said Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Eccles went on to note the Foundation directors’ confidence that students involved in the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Neighbors Helping Neighbors Scholars program will “surely gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the trials of aging, and help develop new and innovative ways to address these challenges.”
The grant—which will support social work students into the year 2017—will provide new opportunities for students to learn and work with NHN, as well as expand services to the program’s older adult clients.
“This generous gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation can potentially be life-changing for both students and the older adults they will serve throughout their careers,” said Wilby. “We are tremendously grateful for this opportunity.”