REAL Services was created in May of 1966 as a part of the planning division of United Way. The purpose was to develop a service network designed to meet the needs of older adults in St. Joseph County. Lester Fox was hired as the Director to develop the Agency. In 1967, REAL Services received the first federal grant in Indiana from the U.S. Administration on Aging (AOA) for Research and Development. This grant was extended in 1968 to further program development. The Information, Counseling and Referral (ICR) Program was initiated with these funds. Interviewers were hired to go door-to-door in designated areas with questionnaires targeted at the elderly. The ICR project was used to determine the immediate needs of the elderly and to refer them to health, welfare, employment, housing, legal aid, and other community services.

This project was successful in identifying the needs of older adults and the resources available to them. A directory of community services for older adults was prepared and distributed, and new programs were developed to meet the needs of older adults.

January 1967: REAL Services secured a Research and Development grant ($38,683.00) from the U. S. Administration on Aging (AOA) to launch a one-year pilot program designed to develop a service network for the older adults in St. Joseph County.

February 1967: REAL Services occupied its first offices at 1201 S. Main Street in South Bend.

January 1968: REAL Services secured a one-year extension of the Research and Development grant in order to further program development.

November 1968: REAL Services established in cooperation with the 1st United Methodist Church the first program in the country that was designed to provide meals, recreation and socialization for older persons in a community congregate center.

NOTE: This program served as a model upon which the U.S. The AOA subsequently designed the nationwide nutrition programs for older adults as part of the Older American’s Act.

July 1969: REAL Services incorporated as a private non-profit agency and became a member agency of the United Way.

January 1970: Les Fox, while continuing as executive director of REAL Services, accepted an appointment to also serve as executive director of the United Health Foundation.

October 1970: REAL Services secured a Model Cities grant to establish a meals, recreation and socialization program for older adults in the model cities area in South Bend.

July 1971: REAL Services received a grant for $23,131.00 from the Indiana Commission on Aged and Aging to establish an older adult employment service. This program served as a forerunner to the establishment of the nationwide Senior Aides program (see June 1977).

Les Fox served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C.

April 1972: The U.S. AOA awarded a $19,168.00 one-year grant to Real Services to develop and operate the first Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Indiana.

June 1972: REAL Services was awarded a one-year grant of $118,858.00 for development of the Foster Grandparent Program. The program is still operational today.

August 1972: REAL Services was designated by the Federal Government to search out older persons eligible for food assistance programs.

September 1973: REAL Services was officially designated by the State as the County Council on Aging.

October 1973: REAL Services was awarded $146,640.00 to establish the Nutrition Program in St. Joseph County. Today the program is operational in 5 counties using 47 meal sites and an annual budget in excess of $1 million.

May 1974: The Governor of Indiana designated REAL Services as the Area Agency on Aging for Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties.

March 1975: The City of South Bend purchased the facility at 622 N. Michigan Street in South Bend for use by REAL Services as a central office.

April 1975: REAL Services established a dial-a-ride transportation system.

July 1976: The St. Joseph County Council awarded funds to REAL Services to establish an older adult crime victim program.

June 1977: The National Council of Senior Citizens awarded $311,730.00 to REAL Services to establish a Senior Aides program.

April 1980: State Senator Douglas Hunt, a member of REAL’s Board of Directors, authored Senate Bill 391 – Home Health Care.

January 1981: REAL Services began a limited transportation program for older adults in rural St. Joseph County.

July 1981: Les Fox again served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C.

November 1981: REAL Services accepted responsibility for the administration and operation of Project SAFE on an emergency basis in 5 counties. Project SAFE is the energy assistance program for low income households. This was REAL Services’ first undertaking to serve low-income persons regardless of age.

September 1982: REAL Services was officially designated to administer Project SAFE by the Indiana Department of Aging and Community Services (IDACS).

In cooperation with the South Bend Post Office, REAL Services established the Carrier Alert Program.

November 1982: REAL Services was officially designated to administer the Weatherization Program designed to provide thermal efficiency and energy saving measures for low income households.

May 1983: REAL Services was designated to implement the 1982 Pre-Admission Screening Act in 5 counties. The purpose is to avoid unnecessary or premature institutionalization of older persons.

June 1984: REAL Services initiated Medicare and Medigap insurance counseling to assist with claim processing and the selection of Medicare supplemental insurance.

July 1985: REAL Services was designated by the Governor to be the Community Action Agency in 5 counties to serve low-income persons irrespective of age. The designation included a $50,000.00 planning grant to enable REAL Services to determine needs and develop action programs to address the needs identified.

March 1986: REAL Services received a Federal grant to provide services for the homeless in a 5 county area.

February 1988: REAL Services received the entire assets, property and equipment located on 907 S. 31st Street in South Bend from the River Park Democratic Club.

Ms. Norma Roose, REAL Services’ employee in Kosciusko County, received a State award for innovative program development initiatives.

July 1988: REAL Services expanded pre-admission and case management services to 5 counties.

October 1988: Established REAL Services’ facilities as smoke-free.

April 1989: A REAL Services nutrition site and case management site were moved into the building on 907 S. 31st Street in South Bend.

June 1989: REAL Services contracted with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to serve older adult crime victims.

July 1989: REAL Services contracted with the Northern Indiana Job Alliance to provide older adults employment and training in Elkhart County.

October 1989: REAL Services/Area Agency hosted the Governor’s Conference on Aging in South Bend.

January 1989: REAL Services/Area Agency signed a contract with Work Family, Inc. of New York to provide private case management and education to corporate clients of Work/Family.

February 1990: The Indiana Senate adopted a resolution commending REAL Services for the administration and implementation of the Community Services Block Grant in 5 counties.

March 1990: REAL Services accepted responsibility for the administration of the Social Services Block Grant Program in 5 counties.

May 1990: REAL Services received approval from the State for the CHOICE Pilot contract for Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.

July 1990: REAL Services voluntarily withdrew affiliation from United Way as a member agency.

September 1990: REAL Services accepted an assignment to assist in the development of a plan to implement Indiana’s Long Term Care Insurance program.

December 1990: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development established REAL Services role in the Home Equity Conversion Counseling program.

March 1991: REAL Services shifted the surplus commodities distribution from the mass distribution system to established food pantries, soup kitchen and homeless shelters in the area.

May 1991: Via legislation, the State consolidated the State Welfare department, the State Mental Health department and the Indiana Department of Human Services into a new department named Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

October 1991: Staff met with area senators and representatives to share our to-date experience with the CHOICE Pilot Program.

December 1991: REAL Services received approval of a $50,000.00 discretionary grant to establish an Income Development Program.

January 1992: REAL Services/Area Agency contracted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide outreach to older adults in rural counties.

February 1992: REAL Services accepted the designation as the Fiscal Agent for the STEP AHEAD Program in St. Joseph County.

March 1992: REAL Services/Area Agency initiated “Students for Seniors”- a sensitivity training for students in elementary schools.

REAL Services purchased land at 1151 S. Michigan Street in South Bend to build a new facility that would consolidate scattered sites into a central location. Ground was broken for the new building in January of 1993 and it was occupied in October. The facility at 622 N. Michigan Street in South Bend was sold to Memorial Hospital. Our name was officially changed to REAL Services, Inc., and a new logo was adopted.                                  

September 1992: Becky Zaseck and Les Fox were honored for their pioneering work on the CHOICE Program in a ceremony at the State Capitol.

REAL Services Foundation, Inc. was initiated by the Board of Directors and approved by the Secretary of State. This Foundation later established an investment policy and operational procedures to secure the future financial stability of the corporation.

October 1992: Mr. Keith BonDurant, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, was nominated by REAL Services as the Older Hoosier of the Year in our area. He was elected State Older Hoosier of the Year.

April 1993: The City of South Bend honored REAL Services for its role in the Community Development Block Grant program.

December 1993: REAL Services/Area Agency CHOICE staff was engaged to train the CHOICE staffs from Area Agencies throughout the state.

January 1994: The Board of Directors approved the staff’s participation in the publication of the REAL Connections Magazine.

February 1994: FSSA advised REAL Services that they would make $12,000.00 available for a guardianship program pending submission by REAL Services and approval by FSSA of a grant application.

March 1994: REAL Services’ case management staff completed the transition for all CHOICE clients receiving care from private caregivers to alternative care plans. The transition was made necessary due to a question raised by Internal Revenue as to the employment status of private caregivers.

June 1994: Based on an audit of our National Contract, the auditor noted “This organization (REAL Services) could serve as a role model in Senior Aides management”.

Mr. Daniel H. Pfeifer, vice-president of REAL Services, was appointed chairman of REAL Services’ Income Development program. This program was phased out in 1995.

August 1994: Les Fox was selected by the Department of Labor to serve as the neutral chairman for the A.M. General Labor/Management Committee to facilitate the discussion on work force reduction.

December 1994: Becky Zaseck has been selected by Governor Bayh to serve as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging.

Several staff members were awarded commendations by the Indiana Department of Family and Social Services for “going the extra mile” to serve older adult clients.

January 1995: The Agency, as part of a national effort, beat back congressional efforts to place the Nutrition and Meals on Wheels programs in a block grant with commodities, food stamps, school lunches, etc. Similar efforts were undertaken to keep the older adult employment programs from consolidation with unrelated activities.

The staff actively participated in the reorganization of the North Central Indiana Food Bank.

March 1995: The Board approved the application (subsequently approved) for funds to provide a part-time person to establish a coalition of churches and social service groups to develop a volunteer program to provide respite for those caring for disabled loved ones at home.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor swore in the President/CEO and Director of the Guardianship Program as Special Investigators.

August 1995: A procedure was approved whereby Board members who had served meritoriously for 18 years or more could be nominated and elected as Board Members Emeritus.

September 1995: Becky Zaseck was invited to testify before an Indiana Senate Committee dealing with Mental Retardation and the role of the Agency in serving that population.

The Indiana Association of Homes for the Aged selected REAL Services to receive their Community Services Award.

January 1996: REAL Services received $2,000.00 from the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) to serve persons under age 60 through the Meals on Wheels Program. The Board of Directors approved the application for a one-year planning grant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to enable REAL Services to develop a respite care program for family caregivers of homebound persons. The Johnson Foundation in May 1996 subsequently approved the grant for $25,000.00.

February 1996: The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program was implemented to provide childcare for eligible clients to enable them to become employed or to participate in education/training that will lead to employment.

July 1996: Becky Zaseck, staff, was selected to serve as the statewide representative to testify at the State legislative hearing on the use of Social Service Block Grant (SSBG) funds in Indiana.

The Dodge Trust was amended, with the approval of the Probate Court, to permit the use of the income for other older adult services in addition to providing Meals on Wheels and nutrition services for Mishawaka residents.

Ms. Joan Cuson, staff, was selected by the Indiana Commission on Aging to receive the “Spotlight Award” for her “Commitment to Excellence” in her job performance. Subsequently, State staff members for Family & Social Services Administration came to South Bend to honor Joan.

September 1996: The REAL Services, Inc. Board approved the recommendation of the REAL Foundation, Inc. that $100,000.00 be placed in a REAL Services endowment fund with the Community Foundation.

December 1996: REAL Services awarded Board Member Emeritus status to Mr. Roland Wardlow, Rabbi Elliot D. Rosenstock, Mr. Jack Park and Mr. Arthur J. Quigley.

January 1997 REAL Services sold the River Park property for $67,500.00 to Mr. John P. Carrico. REAL Services received $30,000.00 from the Mary Alice Buczynski estate for the Meals on Wheels Program and another $46,243.22 in March 1997.

May 1997 Lieutenant Governor Joseph E. Kernan was our keynote speaker at our Age of Excellence Awards Program at which volunteers in designated categories were honored.

REAL Services was presented the 1997 Partners in Elder Care Award from the State AARP.

June 1997 Mr. A.L. “Al” Bias, board member, was elected as Chairman of the Indiana Commission on Aging.

October 1997: REAL Services hosted a legislative conference attended by 9 elected senators and representatives and 4 advocates for older adults. Over 160 participants were in attendance.

April 1998: Mr. Andy Vargo, staff, presented an overview of the Administration and Finance Department, and noted that the staff currently administers 50 different budgets with 7 different fiscal years and 12 major funding sources.

Based on Mr. Michael J. Hammes’ report as Chairperson of REAL Services Foundation, the Board approved the Foundation’s action to place $200,000 in the Community Foundation and pay $100,000 on the 1151 S. Michigan Street, South Bend mortgage.

September 1998: Mr. Michael P. Barnes, St. Joseph County Prosecutor, awarded a grant of $7,500.00 to support the Guardianship Program.

October 1998: Staff introduced the REACH Program. The objective is to enable welfare recipients and low-income households to break the dependency cycle by providing intensive case management.

November 1998: REAL Services initiated an effort to introduce legislation whereby 4 elected state legislators would be added to the Indiana State Commission of the Aged and Aging in order to give the Commission a voice in the Legislature.

May 1999: The Age of Excellence Awards Luncheon, with special guests Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and Lt. Governor Joseph Kernan, was held on May 20 at the Union Station in South Bend.

Lt. Governor Joseph Kernan, on behalf of Gov. Frank O’Bannon, presented Becky Zaseck the Sagamore of the Wabash Award for meritorious services to older adults.

September 1999: The Board of Directors concluded that without proper safeguards being in place, the Agency would not participate in the CHOICE “Private Attendant” Program.

November 1999: Staff reported that a Qualified Medical Beneficiary (QMB) memorandum of agreement has been executed with the State, whereby REAL will do outreach and intake for low-income eligible older adults. The QMB Program will pay Medicare Part “B” premiums and the co-insurance and deductibles for eligible persons.

 July 2000: The staff reported on the relocation of the Meals on Wheels Program from the former LaSalle Hotel to the Osteopathic Hospital on East Jefferson. This change necessitated REAL Service’s employing its own kitchen staff – there were no viable caterers available.

September 2000: REAL Services hosted a visit by the senior staff of the State Bureau of Aging and In-Home Services whose purpose was to review our internal procedures for replication in other areas of the State.

October 2000 REAL Services was awarded “Best Practices” recognition by the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease for the development and expansion of respite services for family of victims.

November 2000: The Board of Directors approved a contract with FSSA whereby REAL Services will monitor all private case managers and service providers in the area who operate the Medicaid Waiver In-Home Services Program.

February 2001: The Board of Directors approved REAL Services’ participation in the Community Foundation’s Senior Fund. Income from the Senior Fund will be used to raise awareness of issues relating to aging; to educate families and the community; and to conduct seminars relating to aging. None of the funds will be used for direct service.

March 2001: The Board of Directors considered and approved the new Family Caregiver Program initiated by the Older American’s Act. REAL’s role will be to develop resources and programs to support family caregivers.

May 2001 The Board discussed the $12,000,000 CHOICE program just signed into law by the Governor. The Board noted that as part of the legislation (little publicized) $3,000,000 of the CHOICE funds will be used as State match for the Medicaid Waiver Program. This action is contrary to the initial intent of the CHOICE legislation.

October 2001 The Corporation for National Services recognized REAL Services for its administration of the Foster Grandparents Program.

December 2001 Due to the closing of the Osteopathic Hospital’s operations, REAL Services was again forced to establish a kitchen for the Meals on Wheels program. A facility in the 100 Center in Mishawaka was leased remodeled and equipped for that purpose.

January 2002: REAL Services hosted Mr. John Hamilton, Indiana Secretary of Family and Social Services to discuss, among other things, the Pre-Admission Screening Program. Future plans call for REAL staff to be at the local hospitals working with discharge planners in an effort to divert Medicaid eligible clients to in-home care under the Medicaid Waiver Program to avoid placement in nursing care.

April 2002: The President/CEO was announced as the recipient of the Henry Ferrettie award for excellence in public service. Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs made the award.

July 2002: REAL Services hosted the annual “Age of Excellence” awards program at the Century Center. Vince Lombardi, Jr. and Daniel Rodriguez, the New York’s “Singing Cop” entertained an overflow crowd. Service awards were made in a variety of service areas.

September 2002: The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County selected REAL Services as the 2003: winner of the Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence for 36 years of outstanding service, innovation and advocacy on behalf of older adults. The award included a $100,000 endowment challenge grant and a $10,000 cash grant.

December 2002: REAL Services was featured in the state-wide publication entitled “Community Action” for the development and implementation of its’ self-sufficiency program that targets single parents and supports their efforts to complete their education and achieve independence for themselves and their family.

January 2003: REAL Services publicly supported Senator John Broden’s bill, Senate bill #493. Senate bill #493 is designed to place in-home care on top of the priority list in order to reduce the cost of care and to avoid placing any older adult in a care facility who could be maintained in the community with a well-designed care plan.

June 2003: REAL Services terminated the contract held with a national organization. The contract served low-income older adults with part-time jobs in the non-profit sector. At the national level, the U.S. Department of Labor challenged Senior Services America’s competency and performance. REAL Services performance has never been an issue. However, the new terms and conditions were impossible to fulfill and left REAL Services with no honorable alternative except to not sign the proposed contract.

August 2003: A presentation by staff of the new Medicaid Select program detailed how clients – the aged, blind and disabled – will select a doctor to serve as their Primary Medical Provider (PMP). The PMP will be responsible to provide and/or coordinate the member’s care.

September 2003: REAL Services transitioned the Nutrition Program – which formerly contracted with a caterer – to the Meals on Wheels kitchen. This has resulted in a very positive response from those we serve because the quality of the meals has significantly improved.

October 2003: The Board of Directors was presented the details about the “22 Ways of Giving” program by Ms. Dunbar of WSBT, Channel 22. The program is conducted in the show room of Gurley-Leep Motors and features the service programs of 22 community agencies. The program also raises funds for the participating agencies.

February 2004: The State transferred the final decision making responsibility for the Pre-Admission Screening Program to REAL Services. Previously REAL Services gathered all relevant information and forwarded it to FSSA for a final determination of client eligibility.

May 2004: The Board of Directors approved the revised REAL Services’

Personnel Policies as presented by the Personnel Policy Committee. The revisions dealt primarily with smoking restrictions; sexual harassment policy and procedure; changed the group insurance payment formula from 75% REAL – 25% employee to 80% REAL – 20% employee; in addition, other “housekeeping” changes were approved.

REAL Services accepted a gift of $61,500 from the estate of Ann C. Ray.

November 2004: REAL Services was awarded a contract for $310,902 by the Indiana Housing Finance Authority, a new funding source. The award will be used to re-hab low income-owner occupied homes.

February 2005: The Board of Directors was presented an overview of REAL

Services designation by the Federal Government as an Aging and Disability Resource Center. REAL Services is one of two Indiana agencies to receive this award which is funded jointly by the Federal Administration on Aging and the Center for Medicine and Medicaid Services.

March 2005: Mr. Pete Mullen, Chairman of REAL Services Housing Corporation, Inc. described the process by which the property in the northern half of the 1100 block of South Michigan is being sought and will enable REAL Services to build a kitchen for the Meals on Wheels and congregate nutrition site programs.

June 2005: Ms. Judy Dominy, Vice-Chairman, reported that the Meals on Wheels program had received $2121.50 in unsolicited voluntary donations to help our Meals on Wheels volunteers meet their increased gasoline expenses.

December 2005: The State (FSSA) plans to privatize the intake process for those programs currently performed by the local county welfare offices. REAL Services has been contacted by one of the “private” companies to determine if REAL would be interested in a sub-contract role. REAL plans to keep an open mind on this matter pending future events.

February 2006: The State Agency Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has indicated that it plans to out-source (privatize) the food preparation for area agency Meals on Wheels and Nutrition site programs. This has serious implications for our agency’s programs and our new kitchen construction plans.

April 2006: REAL Services was awarded $310,902 by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) to rehabilitate homes for low income elderly, disabled and families with children under age 6. This program was developed to compliment the Weatherization Program administered by REAL.

June 2006: The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County awarded a grant to REAL Services in the amount of $223,228.  These funds will support a two (2) year program entitled “Consumer Directed Homemaker” as a pilot program for 50 clients in St. Joseph County.

July 2006: The Parrot Heads of Michiana undertook a fundraiser for REAL Services that netted over $3,000 that will be used in our feeding programs.

September 2006: After prolonged discussions, the FSSA notified the Area Agencies that the plan to privatize the Nutrition and Meals on Wheels programs was being withdrawn by the FSSA.

January 2007: Dr. JoAnn Burke is elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

February 2007: After 40 years of unparalleled leadership and dedicated service, Lester J. Fox retired as CEO of REAL Services, Inc. At the same time that Mr. Fox retired as an employee of REAL Services, he became a volunteer for the Friendly Visitor Program of REAL Services.

March 2007: Rebecca Zaseck was selected by the REAL Services Board of Directors as the new President/CEO of REAL Services. Previously, Ms. Zaseck was the Director of the Area 2 Agency on Aging at REAL Services and had been employed by the agency for 20 years. Ms. Zaseck holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management.

April 2007: REAL Services launched large community awareness campaign to increase community awareness and recruit volunteers. The Big Idea Company came up with the campaign theme entitled Give Something REAL.

May 2007: REAL Services was successful in its application for funding to the Milton Fund of Wells Fargo Bank to develop a program entitled Aging In Place. The Weatherization Department will manage the program and assist the elderly through home modifications and repairs. The goal of the program is to help the elderly age in place by providing safe and accessible housing.

August 2007: REAL Services reviewed and updated the Personnel Polices to include a non-retaliation policy and a staff evaluation process created by an in-house improvement team.

October 2007: At the request of the State of Indiana, REAL Services expanded into LaPorte, Pulaski, and Starke counties to provide services under the Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program.

November 2007: REAL Services was notified that it was one of 5 agencies in the state to receive the NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) grant.

REAL Services received a grant through AARP and the National Council on Aging for Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

December 2007: REAL Services was named the Social Service Agency of the Year and received $1,000 from the Northern Indiana Realtors Association.

REAL Services purchased a building on the corner of Garst and Main Street in South Bend for the purpose of creating a permanent facility for the Meals on Wheels and Nutrition Program.

January 2008: The Board of Directors approved the establishment of fund development efforts and approved the campaign for the Kitchen for Independent Living.

United Way requested that REAL Services act as the fiscal agency for funding that would assist families become self-sufficient.

February 2008: The Guardianship Program was awarded funds from the Marshall County Community Foundation.

The Indiana Community Action Association asked REAL Services to assist by weatherizing homes in Lake and surrounding counties.

March 2008: Roger Parent reported on the results of the Fund Development Study that he conducted on behalf of REAL Services.

1st Source Bank featured the Kitchen for Independent Living of REAL Services in its Community Spotlight mailing.

Rebecca Zaseck was honored by the Social Work Honor Society for her humanitarian work.

April 2008: William Odell was hired as the new Director of Development for REAL Services.

The City of South Bend approved $278,000 for the Aging in Place program.

May 2008: REAL Services launched a television and community awareness campaign.

June 2008: The Reverend Edward Monk Malloy was the keynote speaker at the Age of Excellence Awards.

The state of Indiana withdrew the Weatherization contract from North Central Community Action and requested that REAL Services administer the program in Pulaski, Starke and LaPorte Counties. REAL Services will help to train a person to oversee the program so that it can be returned to North Central Community Action.

August 2008: The Board of Directors heard a presentation from Joan Cuson that noted the REAL Services led the State in nursing home diversions.

September 2008: REAL Services hosted an event at Ivy Tech entitled “Planning for an Aging Society”. There were participants from five counties.

REAL Services was one of 15 agencies featured at the Center for History. The event, Picturing Community, was sponsored by the Community Foundation.

October 2008: The Parrot Heads of Michiana hosted an “Empty Bowls” event for the Kitchen for Independent Living.

November 2008: The Walmart Foundation presented REAL Services with a check for $50,000 for the Kitchen for Independent Living.

January 2009: Debra Jenkins and Mary Jane Stanley joined the Board of Directors. Mr. William Cushwa was elected and Chairman of the Board of Directors.

February 2009: REAL Services received $61,066 to provide emergency assistance for rent and utilities.

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center graciously offered the use of its Mishawaka kitchen as a temporary home for Meals on Wheels.

March 2009: The Kitchen Campaign launched it public campaign and REAL Services reached its fund development goal of goal of 1.3 million dollars to build the Kitchen for Independent Living.

The Board of Directors ratified the decision of the Housing Board to purchase the building on the corner of Stull and Main Street.

April 2009: REAL Services was notified that it was one of 14 organizations funded through the Weinberg Foundation. The Foundation received over 400 applicants nationally. The grant was a result of strong community partnership – including the Community Foundation, St. Mary’s, Press Ganey and Memorial Home Care.

May 2009: The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging recognized REAL Services with an Innovation in Aging award for its work in Nursing Home Diversions.

The agency held its ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the Kitchen for Independent Living.

REAL Services Board of Directors discussed the problems with Medicaid Privatization and how the issue might be communicated to our legislators.

June 2009: The REAL Services Caregiver Support Fund was established at the Community Foundation. The one-million-dollar endowment built on funds from Wells Fargo and the Community Foundation to sustain the efforts of the Weinberg Grant.

Wells Fargo awarded REAL Services a $75,000 grant for the Weatherization Building.

July 2009: The Community Foundation awarded the Guardianship Program a $100,000 grant, of which, $50,000 is a challenge grant.

August 2009: Ms. Mary Downes was elected as a member of the Board of Directors.

United Way awarded REAL Services $47,000 in FEMA funds to assist the unemployed with mortgage payments

The Department of Insurance awarded REAL Services $86,000 to provide benefits counseling.

September 2009: REAL Services was granted $335,000 from the City of South Bend to provide home modification in coordination with Weinberg Grant.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority awarded REAL Services $2,638,573 in ARRA funds (Stimulus funding) to weatherize additional homes Elkhart and St. Joseph County.

October 2009: REAL Services was chosen as one of two sites in Indiana to Pilot the Community Living Grant.

November 2009: Mr. William Cushwa was re-elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2010.

Mr. Tim Sexton was elected as a new member of the Board of Directors beginning in 2010.

January 2010: REAL Services received two grants from Wells Fargo to support the new Weatherization building.

REAL Services received a grant from the Community Foundation to make improvements of the Caregiver Connection Center located in 46619.

March 2010: REAL Services was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy in the amount of $57,000.

The Foster Grandparent Program received an anonymous gift of $25,000.

April 2010: NIPSCO donated $10,000 to support the Weatherization building.

May 2010: The Age of Excellence Program served at the kick off for the first REAL Room Makeover Raffle. Mr. Vern Yip was the key note speaker.

June 2010: Mr. Leroy Troyer visited REAL Services and provided a presentation concerning intergenerational programming.

REAL Services staff participated in the Sunburst races.

Ms. Mary Downes hosted the first “Breakfast with REAL Services” to promote community education about REAL Services.

August 2010: Personnel Policies were amended to allow staff to use sick days to care for family members.

The first REAL Room Makeover Raffle was held.

REAL Services organized the first Boomer Boot camp.

September 2010: REAL Services sponsored a forum on Health Care Reform.

REAL Services received a grant from the Pokagon Fund to support client self-sufficiency.

November 2010: Mr. Steve Goldberg was elected as the Chairman of the Board for 2011.

January 2011: REAL Services develop an extensive safety plan for all departments.

The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County funded two vans for the Transportation Department.

February 2011: REAL Services formally launches Guardian Partner Program.

Strategic Plan goals and accomplishments were reviewed and discussed.

March 2011: The Aging and Disability Resource Center of REAL Services offers Home Equity Conversion Counseling and Insurance Counseling.

REAL Services hosted a breakfast for Millennials to identify ways to engage younger people with the agency.

Staff worked with others throughout the state to participate in the Senior Rally for long term care options.

April 2011: REAL Services Code of Ethics was updated for all staff, volunteers and Board Members

May 2011: REAL Services kicks off the second REAL Room Makeover Raffle.

A Business Opportunity Committee comprised of Board members meets to consider other private pay services.

June 2011: Surveys are distributed to begin the next Strategic Planning Process.

REAL Services receives a grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County to connect to the Metro net.

August 2011: Ms. Rena Shriber retires from the Board of Directors after 35 years of services with REAL Services.

REAL Services receives the final grant dollars from Wells Fargo to create $1,000,000 endowment to be held at the Community Foundation for Family Caregivers.

September 2011: REAL Services contracts with a CPA consultant to assist with the annual audit.

The Board heard from Latonia Newhouse regarding the increase in the numbers of those living in poverty.

REAL Services hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner.

October 2011: REAL Services worked with St. Mary’s College to host a forum that offered information to Age at Home.

Prompt Ambulance hosted “A taste of caring” to benefit REAL Services.

November 2011: The Community Services Department hosted the first “Helping People-Changing Lives” luncheon.

The Parrot Heads hosted an Empty Bowls event to benefit REAL Services.

Mr. Steven Goldberg was re-elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2012.

January 2012: REAL Services was awarded an Individual Development Account Program, a program that encourages low income families to save money for school by matching their deposits up to $1600.

February 2012: REAL Services hosts Medicare 101 events to help those who are nearing retirement better understand Medicare.

March 2012: REAL Services staff members, trained and certified by Stanford University, presented the program entitled “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Disease.”

April 2012: REAL Services announced that it was piloting the First Home Plus Program. A program that provides down payment assistance to low-income first-time home buyers. REAL Services will weatherize these homes with additional funding from project.

May 2012: REAL Services hosted the Age of Excellence Program with Christopher Lowell as a keynote speaker.

June 2012: Two REAL Services staff members attended seminars to become Aging in Place Specialists. The certification provides the background and knowledge necessary to determine the need for home modifications.

July 2012: REAL Services received a grant for $123,000 from the Judd Leighton Foundation to replace three meal delivery trucks. In addition, the agency received grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County to pilot a hospital transition project with St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

August 2012: The agency conducted the third annual REAL Room Makeover Raffle. 1702 raffle tickets were sold to support the Guardianship and Foster Grandparent Program.

September 2012: Mr. Albert Gutierrez, CEO of St. Joseph Regional Hospital, presented the keynote address and the 2nd annual Helping People, Changing Lives.

October 2012: REAL Services was awarded $106,000 from Wells Fargo’s Milton Fund to provide home modifications.

November 2012: New officers were elected: Chairman, Steven Watts; Chairperson Elect, Mary Jane Stanley; Treasurer, Mary Downes; Assistant Treasure, Karen Nevorski. New members of the Board of Directors include Rex Miller and Mary Jo Campbell. Board of Directors approved a 5 year Strategic Plan.

January 2013: 2012: audit resulted in no findings and REAL Services was deemed as a low-risk agency.

February 2013: Community Services department received contract for Individual Development Accounts for low income clients.

March 2013: Personnel Polices were revised to provide flex-time for case managers.

May 2013: Amy Grant was the keynote speaker for the Age of Excellence Program with 700 in attendance.

June 2013: The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County approved a $72,000 grant request to assist with costs of an upcoming merger.

July 2013: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana became a division of REAL Services. Both organizations saw only advantages with the merger.

Barbara Dicken was hired as the new Director of Development for REAL Services.

August 2013: REAL Services successfully completed its 4th REAL Room Makeover Raffle.

September 2013: Ms. Heather Birky, Ms. Peggy Cuggino and Ms. Collette Wolfson became members of the Board of Directors.

October 2013: The Development Committee of REAL Services created its work plan in conjunction with the agency Strategic Plan.

November 2013: The Finance Committee developed a work plan for the upcoming year.

January 2014: REAL Services received a grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County to replace the garage doors and install automatic openers.

February 2014: REAL Services entered into an agreement with Select Health Network whereby REAL Services will provide technical assistance for hospital transitions.

March 2014: REAL Services received a gift of $25,000 from Ms. Barbara Warner for Meals on Wheels.

April 2014: The Board learned more about program piloted by REAL Services (Community Living Program) that will be expanded because of state legislation.

May 2014: REAL Services held the Age of Excellence Program. Ms. Vicki Lawrence was the keynote speaker.

June 2014: REAL Services received a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation to support Meals on Wheels.

August 2014: REAL Services held the 5th annual REAL Room Makeover Raffle and netted over $50,000; more than any previous year.

September 2014: REAL Services hosted its first Get REAL, Give REAL breakfast for REAL Champions. The event netted over $20,000.

October 2014: Three individuals were invited join the REAL Services Board of Directors: Robert Mendoza, Rafael Morton and Michele Stesiak.

January 2015: The 2013-14 Audit was presented. The agency remains a low-risk auditee.

February 2015: The Board approved several contracts, including a $38,000 contract for Guardianship and a $30,000 contract for the Nursing Home Collaborative.

March 2015: Representatives from Marshall County United Way attended the Board meeting as guests. The Board approved a $100,000 contract with the City of Mishawaka to expand Weatherization Services.

May 2015: The Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the Business Development Committee to proceed with an application to the Community Foundation to develop the Institute for Excellence in Memory Care. The 1st Marshall County Outreach Breakfast was held.

June 2015: GiveLocal SJC resulted in $46,444.94 of new funding for REAL Services endowment and $39,951of new funding for operations. The “Walk” for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services raised $100,020.99.

August 2015: REAL Services hosted the Breakfast for REAL Champions, benefiting Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services.

September 2015: The REAL Room Makeover Raffle sold out for the first time!

October 2015: REAL Services was notified that the Institute for Excellence in Memory Care was fully funded by the Milton fund at the Community Foundation and Wells Fargo.

November 2015: The Board of Directors approved the nominations of two new members; Ryan Brennan of Notre Dame and Tim Emerick of Barnes and Thornburg.

January 2016 Mary K. Downes takes over as Chairman of the Board of Directors. St. Joseph County Council recognized REAL Services for its 50th Anniversary.

February 2016: K21 and Harkless Foundatons in Kosciusko County granted $20,000 and $4500 dollars respectively to allow for expansion of   the Guardianship Program in Kosciusko County.

March 2016: REAL Services co-hosted Chamber Business After Hours at the Kitchen. REAL Services hosted a press conference to kick off REAL Services 50th Anniversary and announce the “Call Your Grandma” campaign.

Becky Zaseck, CEO, was awarded the 2016 Athena Award by the St. Joseph County Chamber.

April 2016 REAL Services hosted the 20th annual Age of Excellence Program with Jane Pauley as keynote speaker. There were over 800 attendees to recognize 8 award winners.

May 2016: REAL Services hosted its first GetREAL GiveREAL breakfast in Kosciusko County with over 80 in attendance. The Florence Carroll Trust provided $25,000 in funding for a new van. The meeting rooms and training rooms were refurbished with a $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.

June 2016: REAL Services hosted its second Marshall County GetREAL GiveREAL Breakfast. The Development Department hosted two Walks to support Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services in St. Joseph and Lake Counties. Approximately $100,000 was raised through the two events.

July 2016: The REAL Room Makeover Raffle took place at St. Joseph High School in conjunction with an all agency celebration that recognized REAL Services 50th Birthday. The raffle sold out for the second year in a row!

August 2016: The Board focused on current and emerging needs of the elderly and low-income people.

The Development Committee introduced the Les Fox Leadership Circle for donors of $1,000 or more.

September 2016 REAL Services received a $30,000 grant for the Community Foundation to purchase a new van. In addition, a $15,000 grant was received from Wells Fargo Carroll Trust to support Volunteer Services.

October 2016: The Board of Directors voted unanimously to offer membership to Mr. John Abernethy and Representative David Neizgodski.

Lester J. Fox, founder of REAL Services, passed away.

November 2016:   REAL Services was honored at the South Bend Community Hall of Fame dinner with the Distinguished Community Service Award.

December 2016:   REAL Services was honored by the Neuropsychiatric Hospitals of Indiana for Excellence in Service to the Community.

2017:   The Les Fox Leadership Circle was established to recognize donors.

March 2018:   The REAL Grille Food Truck hits the streets and all proceeds support Meals and Nutrition programs.

2019:  Representatives from the Netherlands visit and consult about quality Dementia Care.

2020:  COVID pandemic required our agency to pivot service delivery and create seven new services and serve 6000 additional clients.

2021:   REAL Services celebrates 55 years of service to seniors and vulnerable families in the communities we serve.

January 2022:  Becky Zaseck, President and CEO, successor to Les Fox, announces her retirement after 35 years of service.

February 2022:  Karla Ann Fales, is selected by the board of directors to succeed Ms. Zaseck as President and CEO of the organization.