From Northwestern newsletter Our Neighborhood News, Winter 2020
Seniors in Evanston, Skokie, Chicago, and surrounding cities are engaging with peers, continuing their learning, and improving their quality of life thanks to Evanston’s Levy Senior Center. At the city’s second most-used center, older adults take art and fitness classes, organize trips to cultural events, get help with tasks like signing up for Medicare and renewing driver’s licenses, and receive regular health screenings.
“We’re an all-stop shop here,” says Judy Newton, president of the Levy Senior Center Foundation, which funds the center. Open to those ages 55 and above, yearly membership costs $34 for Evanston residents and $54 for others; membership is free for those 90 and older.
The center’s popular lecture series presents experts who speak on topics ranging from resistance in Nazi Germany to the history of candy in the U.S. The hourlong talks often draw on the expertise of Northwestern faculty; School of Education and Social Policy professor Cheryl Judice recently spoke about interracial relationships between white men and black women.
Lectures are held in the center’s Linden Room, where a donation from Northwestern is funding a new sound system for hearing impaired seniors. Further improvements include exercise-friendly flooring, new chairs, and a video system. Says Newton, “Northwestern was the first donor—they’re our advocates.” The new Jamming Jean Concert Series, named in memory of Northwestern alumna Jean Levy London, presents well-known musicians at free Friday evening concerts that attract over 300 attendees. “Our goal is to bring the community together,” Newton says. “Many seniors are alone during the day, and our events give them something to look forward to.”
She adds that center staff are excited about the warm reception they get from Northwestern’s community relations office: “I know I can go to them and get ideas and follow-through—they have been extremely supportive and offer good ideas about how we can partner with the University.”