Maine Township Brings Home Three Awards from State Conference
December 3, 2014 — Maine Township recently brought home three more awards from the annual conference of Township Officials of Illinois (TOI). They were Senior Director of the Year, 2014 Youth Organization Award, and 2014 Youth Leadership Award. The Township was acknowledged in multiple categories for its many outstanding services that enhance the lives of all residents, according to Carol A. Teschky, Township Supervisor.
"Thanks in great part to the dedication of our elected officials and township staff our work is regularly recognized by our peers around the state for being innovative and of high quality," she added.
Singled out for recognition from among more than 1,400 Townships across Illinois, Mary Swanson, Director of MaineStreamers, was named Senior Director of the Year by the Illinois Township Association of Senior Centers Services Committee (ITASCSC) at ceremonies held Nov. 11 in Springfield, IL. MaineStay, which provides youth and family services for all residents of Maine Township, received the 2014 Association of Illinois Township Committees on Youth (AITCOY) Youth Organization Award. MaineStay volunteer Leena Khoury received the 2014 AITCOY Youth Leadership Award.
Swanson, who has been director of MaineStreamers for the past 14 years, was recognized for her enthusiasm and dedication to the senior program. She has initiated many successful programs including "Swing into Spring" Senior Expo which averages more than 75 vendors and 1600 seniors in attendance each year. She also introduced a quarterly book review program, a defensive driving class, a flu shot program, and Hooked on Fishing which offers outings to many local fishing spots. Other activities under her direction include a walking group, Feats of Fitness, Zumba Gold, chair aerobics, yoga, Tai Chi, computer workshops, bingo, men's/women's breakfast club, movies of the month, bowling, pinochle and Twilight Dining. Day trips, monthly luncheons which typically draw more than 200 people, and a special luncheon to recognize those residents who are 90 or older round out her programs which are developed in cooperation with a senior advisory board which meets four times a year.
MaineStay was recognized for its determination and dedication in discovering and meeting the needs of the youth in Maine Township, a community that is experiencing rapid economic, social and cultural changes. When results of a community survey showed that bullying was a concern to residents, MaineStay responded with a seminar that drew more than 400 people who heard Jarrett Payton, son of the late Walter Payton, and Camille Paddock, a teen who had been bullied, share their experiences. Another well attended seminar in April featured Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know about Ending the Cycle of Fear. Small education and support groups for youth who had been bullied as well as training related to bullying for all MaineStay therapists and youth program leaders rounded out MaineStay's response to the concerns of residents about the issue.
This fall, MaineStay began addressing two other important community issues identified by the survey—anxiety and depression. In September they began a new group, Anxiety Coping Skills. In October they invited internationally renowned author and speaker, Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg, to speak on Anxiety and Depression: Effective Treatment of the Two Co-occurring Disorders. This was followed by another new group, Teens Overcoming Depression in November. MaineStay offers counseling and all of its youth programs to every resident in Maine Township, regardless of cultural or economic status. They have a very liberal sliding fee scale and don't require insurance or public aid to receive services.
Khoury, who is part of MaineStay's Future Leaders Program, is known by staff members as a young woman who identifies with the youth of Maine Township on a unique level. She is always first to volunteer and goes the extra mile in preparation for planned activities. Fostering excitement for learning among the 8 to 13 year olds that she mentors, Khoury also mentors incoming freshmen at Maine West High School. A member of the Principal's Leadership Team, she is also editor of the school newspaper and a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society.
Involved with Voice for the Nameless, which is a group dedicated to educating Maine West students about human rights violations around the world, she is part of the COACH tutoring program, Scholastic Bowl, a member of Pi Sigma Pi for students who excel in the social sciences and volunteers in the community through Chicago Cares.