New PCACS board member looks to strengthen impact on community

2014-01-22T13:48:00Z 2014-01-22T14:06:10Z New PCACS board member looks to strengthen impact on communityContributed by Porter County Aging and Community Services nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Porter County Aging and Community Services is marking the addition of new board member, Rondi Wightman, who joined in the fall of 2013.

Wightman is looking forward to being a voice for seniors in the Duneland area where she lives and volunteers.

“I have lived in Porter for 15 years. I grew up in Saugatuck, Mich., another small community … I am a big believer of ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ — it’s a Gandhi quote,” she said. “I look forward to growing old in this community and I want to help make sure it has senior offerings.”

She hopes by being on the PCACS board, she can also get ideas that may benefit the Duneland senior community.

“Maybe there are some things being done in Valpo that we can mimic here in the Duneland region,” she said.

She has already had a major impact on the community by helping resurrect a senior group along with Cathy Ellis. The Duneland Seniors group meets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays at Hawthorne Park in Porter and offers activities, trips and avenues to connect seniors to their community.

The ladies brought back a group after a former organization lost its formal funding. Today, they have 90 paid members, a yearly health fair fund-raiser, have donated to Best Buddies Pet Pantry and gift baskets to local seniors in need and participated in the Fourth of July parade with a float.

The group has a board of directors to help plan activities and members also decided to have dues to support the organization. Anyone older than 55 can join and it costs $20 a year per person.

“With my background as a social worker, I am good at identifying needs within a community … what can I do to help fulfill that for this resurrecting senior group?”

Wightman has been a social worker helping clients through the organ transplants process and she has worked in pharmaceutical sales. She now teaches MSW candidates at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.

Additional PCACS board members include Gwen Kiser, Ed Gottschling, Michael Lipp, Sylvia Graham, Clifford Malings, Dr. Jean Boehlke and George Iemmolo. Ethan Lowe is the PCACS board president, Bob Macmahon is vice president, Barb Kubiszak is secretary and Bob Malackowski is treasurer.

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