October 28, 2010 — The University of Utah College of Social Work announced today that it has received a $17,500 Daniels Fund grant to support its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program.
For more than a decade, Neighbors Helping Neighbors has helped fill the gap between public and private services by providing assistance to seniors who do not qualify for public services, yet cannot afford to pay for private services. Through internships with the program, U social work students gain important clinical skills and first-hand experience with the rapidly growing senior population.
“It’s a very flexible program, and that’s what makes it so successful,” said Fran Wilby, executive director of the W.D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging, which oversees Neighbors Helping Neighbors. “Our staff and students are able to personalize individual plans and connect seniors with programs and professionals who can help meet their specific needs.”
Wilby explained that by addressing underlying mental health issues and mobilizing existing community supports, the program has helped more than 2,000 seniors improve their quality of life and remain independent in their homes and communities. “If we can help these individuals stay in their own homes,” said Wilby, “we eliminate the need for placement in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, and end up saving the individual, his or her family, and government systems the staggering costs associated with institutionalization.”
With support from the Daniels Fund, the program plans to increase options for family and caregiver support, improve accessibility to and accommodations for seniors with limited mobility, and expand the home maintenance work that often means the difference between keeping or losing a home.
“The Daniels Fund grant will not only help us broaden the reach of this innovative program,” said Wilby, “it will also help us address the diverse physical, emotional, and mental health needs of one of our community’s most underserved populations.”
The Daniels Fund was established in 1997 by Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television who was known for his kindness and generosity to those in need. The Daniels Fund provides grants and scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, please visit www.danielsfund.org.
For more information about the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, please visit their website at www.socwk.utah.edu/neighbors.