CLESE 24th Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner 2013
The Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE) was incorporated in 1989. Their founding members served as advisory council members to the Chicago Department on Aging’s ethnic elderly needs assessment in 1987. CLESE continues to improve the lives of limited English speaking elders with advocacy, leadership and education. CLESE is committed to a vision of equal access to services for all elderly, regardless of ethnicity or language. As a coalition, CLESE works to increase awareness of the needs, rights, and unique contributions of limited-English-speaking elderly and the community-based organizations that serve them. CLESE promotes understanding, sensitivity, and insight into culturally diverse communities. CLESE is a resource to ethnic agencies by providing assistance and information. Fifty four one community-based ethnic organizations can be reached by contacting CLESE. As part of its efforts to better serve limited English-speaking older adults, CLESE has commissioned report to provide objective information on their demographic, social and economic characteristics. This portrait of the community reveals a highly diverse population representing numerous languages and places of origin. The report is available at www.clese.org
Service providers, advocates, policy makers and others will note that limited English-speaking older adults are important to the fabric of our region and their needs deserve careful consideration from us all. From the beginning, CLESE membership reflected the ethno-linguistic diversity of the Chicago metropolitan area. No one group or sub-group has ever dominated; members now represent countries from all parts of the globe. CLESE has advocated on a variety of issues, all addressing the disparity of services and benefits or seeking to inform mainstream officials about particular needs of immigrant, refugee and migrant elderly. For example, CLESE honored family caregivers at an event attended by 200 ethnic older adults. CLESE has given public testimonies, sent press releases, been interviewed for various publications and on radio, and has coordinated public events. CLESE has sought recognition for successful individual limited-English speaking elderly and for ethnic service providers. CLESE speaks on behalf of 54 diverse ethnic member organizations to the general public and to specific officials, decision-makers and funders. CLESE represents ethnic communities on committees, advisory councils in the state and nationally, that foster an improved understanding of needs and access to services for limited English-speaking elderly. CLESE presents at state and national conferences, in addition to speaking at many meetings, seminars, and workshops, always with the intent to educate the attendees.