June 5, 2020

Fremont gets grants for seniors

$300,000 will go to cultural, faith-based organization
By Chris De Benedetti, STAFF WRITER
Fremont Argus, March 11, 2007

Ask and the senior community receives.

That has been the pattern between the Human Services Department and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has awarded another grant the city of Fremont plans to use for senior services.

The “Fresh Ideas” grant is the third in less than three years that Fremont has received from the New Jersey-based foundation, which describes itself as the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health care.

Fremont council members on Tuesday formally accepted the $300,000 grant.

City officials say they plan to spend that money during the next two years. They plan to train volunteers to provide support to members of faith-based and cultural organizations, such as:

  • Muslim Support Network
  • Centerville Presbyterian Church
  • Taiwanese Senior Association
  • India Community Center
  • Sikhs Engaged in Volunteer Activities
  • Stanford Geriatric Education Center

The effort is called the Community Ambassador Program for Seniors, an offshoot of the city’s Senior Action Plan, also funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.

Volunteers from the local cultural groups will help seniors within their own community learn how to better access services, especially for aging adults who may not know about Fremont’s wide range of programs.

“The challenge is that seniors often don’t know about the services,” said Mary Anne Mendall, administrator of the Human Services Department. “Some don’t speak English, or they might be physically isolated. It can be tricky to navigate the system.”

Some of the services already offered by the city include paratransit to help seniors get around town; home visits to help them exercise, socialize or do chores; programs to assist family caregivers; and advice on filling out Medicare forms or choosing a prescription drug plan.

People can learn more about these services by calling the Senior Help Line at (510) 574-2041. Information is available in English, Farsi, Mandarin and Spanish, Mendall said.

“It’s taking the front door directly to seniors where they actually congregate — in their churches and cultural centers,” she said.

In 2004, the city of Fremont and the city-funded Tri-City Elder Coalition received funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a plan for long-term care and services for local at-risk seniors. Two years later, the city and the coalition received a grant totaling $750,000 with the goal of implementing that plan.

Staff writer Chris De Benedetti covers Fremont issues. Contact him at (510) 353-7002 or cdebenedetti@angnewspapers.com.