On Wednesday, January 25th, 2023, Greater Family Health and Senior Services Associates brought a one-of-a-kind experience to the seniors of Elgin and surrounding area. The two organizations hosted Drag Bingo at the Senior Services Associates’ Senior Center in Elgin to promote and encourage inclusive and welcoming community events.
“By hosting Drag Bingo, our goal was two-fold: we wanted to create an event where local LGBTQ+ seniors felt represented, safe, and welcome, and where our senior community could experience – and enjoy! – an important piece of LGBTQ+ culture in a fun, accessible manner. Through our programming representing marginalized groups, we want our senior center environment to convey a message loud and clear – “Every single senior is welcome, every single senior is valued, and every single senior has a place here at Senior Services” said Senior Services Associates Activity Coordinator, Cat Alfonso.
The Senior Center was decorated with bright rainbow colors and balloon arches, creating a pathway for more than 80 community members congregated to eat lunch, mingle with each other and enjoy drag queen Windy Breeze’s fun spirit and personality. Despite the snowy weather, seniors arrived and settled into their seats. Senior Services Associates and an Elgin resident who wishes to remain anonymous but wanted to show his support provided coffee and donuts! Before the start of Bingo, seniors could connect with community agencies and their representatives during the resource fair. Afterward, lunch was served, and the fun began!
“We do not want any of our older adults in the community to be isolated or feel left behind as they age. I am so proud that we created this program and that it was a success. I want to thank everyone who was a part of it, everyone who supported it, and everyone who thought “You know what? I’m going to try something new today,” and came out and had fun with us” stated Alfonso.
Participating seniors won various gift cards and other prizes thanks to the following agencies and their contributions: Association for Individual Development, Caption Call, Kane County Health Department, Oak Street Health, Open Door Health Clinic, Sahara Home Care, Tower Hill Healthcare, and Zing Health.
“AID had so much fun at this unique event! We enjoyed meeting so many seniors from the area and felt their appreciation for the vendors that participated” Association for Individual Development declared on their social media accounts following the event.
Greater Family Health’s goal is to ensure that, through events like these, seniors can feel part of the community and find a place to feel safe to be who they are. This event highlights community members and agencies and their outstanding work that ensures local seniors have the resources and tools to lead a happy and healthy life.