Swing into Lifescape with the Follies!

By Alice Nichols

Have you ever asked yourself, what ever happened to…? I often thought, What is Alan Jones up to now? Alan was former news anchor with Rockford’s TV stations WIFR and WTVO. Well, I found him working at Lifescape Community Services, celebrating his first anniversary as Marketing/Fund Development director. His job consists of promoting Lifescape to the public and fund-raising. He also heads the committee to make sure everything works smoothly at the Senior Follies and the upcoming Senior Expo in September. He also has an informative radio show. If you tune in to WROK Radio at 7:50 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month, Alan will fill you in on the much-needed services for seniors provided by Lifescape.

This year was also Alan’s first year heading the committee for the Senior Follies, which is performed annually at venues in Rockford, and also at the Senior Expo. The Follies is only one of the much-needed sources of funds raised for Lifescape.

Director/producer/choreographer Angie Fellows started with the Follies 17 years ago… she was the second person to audition. Angie says: “We have 75 volunteer seniors in our group, ranging in ages 55 to 90. We furnish our own costumes, stage props, and the band furnishes their own instruments.” Talent galore, if you ask us. And with Paul Logli as master of ceremonies, and local guest celebrities on stage, one couldn’t ask for more for their money.

Alan gets plenty of help for lobby, ticket-taking and wardrobe when he calls on Pat Larson, volunteer coordinator at Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The staff at Lifescape combines their efforts to do whatever is needed at the ticket counter, parking lot and whatever else is required to keep things going smoothly.

We asked Alan about the attendance at the recent Follies. “There was an estimated 1,800 for both shows, according to ticket sales,” he said. “But some tickets were given away on radio shows, etc. All the funds go to Lifescape for operational costs.”

We asked Alan about the cost of the vans, the Meals on Wheels, and he explained: “We have 15 ‘Hot Shot’ vans that cost $35,000 each. The Meals on Wheels vans are equipped with ovens to keep food hot and refrigeration units to keep food cold. There are wheelchair-accessible vans with special lifts to transport people to their doctor appointments. As far as operating costs, you also have to figure the insurance, wear and tear, gas, etc. Meals are prepared in the kitchen on the premises of Lifescape. A majority of the food is paid for by Lifescape and some donated to us. So, there’s always need for more funds.”

When we asked Alan how the transition went with this job change, he offered: “You know, it is a transition, just like any new job would be. Working at Lifescape is different from doing live TV news shows. It’s more about the agency…about senior issues and serving seniors better. One of the many services Lifescape provides is the Bright Side Adult Day Service. They serve breakfast and lunches to seniors, they’re handicap accessible, the staff help seniors suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s, provide the client with a safe place to be, and provide caregiver respite. They have a nurse on staff, and there’s medical supervision for folks who take medication. Bright Side is one of the oldest adult day services in the country.”

About the Follies, Alan said: “The Follies is a great thing. They’ve sure done a lot for Lifescape. And it’s great for seniors to show the world they have plenty to offer. It’s a mindset that goes into it. Maybe they were dancing when they were younger…or singing. When I was 25, I thought I’d never get old. Now, 65 doesn’t seem so old… it’s a state of mind.”

It’s a state of bliss when you do positive things that make you happy. Thanks, Alan… and happy first anniversary with Lifescape!

Call Lifescape Community Services for information about Bright Side Adult Day Service or any other programs at (815) 963-1609.

Alice Nichols is a resident of Rockford.

From the June 16-22, 2010 issue

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