The Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE) located at 53 West Jackson, Suite 1340 Chicago, IL 60604 held its Silver Jubilee celebration at White Eagle Banquets & Restaurant located at 6839 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL 60714 on Tuesday September 30th, 2014 from 5:30 pm onwards amidst a large gathering of ethnic agencies serving the ethnic seniors, distinguished state officials from Department of Human Service (DHS) and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) and elected members.
Marta Pereyra, Executive Director of CLESE welcomed everyone to this special celebration and recognized the dignitaries who graced the event. The evening began with Registration, Reception and Networking which was followed by Korean Dancers performing the Mask Dance.
A special highlight of the evening was the award presentation made to Dr. Ed Silverman. Dr. Silverman has been employed by the State of Illinois since 1973, retired in March of this year and is currently acting as a Consultant. He has actively participated in the development of program and policy at the federal level and contributed to the drafting of the Refugee Act of 1980. He has received no. of Awards from the Federal Government, the United Nations High Commissioner, DHHS, American Society of Public Administration. His Guiding Principles are ‘That Refugees need Refuge, a place to heal, to come together,, to grow, prosper and thrive, all while recognizing in each struggling community their unique strengths; that immigrants have much to give, that cultural difference are to be recognized and celebrated and that we are stronger when we stand together.’
While accepting the CLESE Champion of Older Adults Award, Dr. Ed Silverman thanked CLESE for the honor and assured to help the community as much as he can.
Ngoan Le, Rosemary Gemperle, Beth O’Grady, Marta Pereyra, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, the IDOA Director John K. Holton, 27th Illinois Senatorial District Senator Matt Murphy, Secretary Michelle Saddler and Michael Gelder from the Governor’s Office, all attributed to the tireless efforts to resettle refugees rendered by Dr. Silverman who had inspired many people in public service.
Sumptuous Dinner was served. The evening concluded with Polish Folk Dance Theater, which was greatly appreciated by everyone. Marta proposed a vote of Thanks at the end.
Welcome to the CLESE 25th Anniversary Celebration:
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.