Kavod Senior Life launched an outreach program into the community nine years ago that has grown leaps and bounds; today it reaches nearly double the number of individuals off site than those living at Kavod.
When CEO Michael Klein came aboard in 2010, his staff community liaison came to him and told him that many local synagogues in town were reducing or getting rid of programs for older adults.
The response to this service reduction was obvious for Klein, who felt that Kavod was well-positioned to reach beyond its walls and fulfill its mission of supporting seniors who wanted to age well and age Jewishly. The Kavod campus consists of three towers of affordable senior and assisted living apartments along with comprehensive wraparound services. But with 397 apartments and long wait lists, the number of individuals Kavod could serve had been relatively set.
Kavod on the Road changed all that. This outreach program partnered with neighboring synagogues and the local Jewish community center to fill in their missing gaps of activities for seniors. Kavod began bringing programs to these partners focused on Jewish topics, entertainment and information on aging. The goal was to help older adults continue to engage socially, be active with their synagogue and the Jewish community while staying mentally sharp.
The idea worked. Over time, more organizations joined Kavod on the Road and welcomed the programs to their sites, enjoying the outside support, cross-pollination of advertising and the network of agencies serving seniors.
“This program is JUST what I needed!” exclaimed a first-time participant at the Friday Lunch Bunch, a lay-led program supported by Kavod where individuals meet at a new restaurant each month and try different cuisines.
Kavod also took on the publication of a senior activity guide for participants (from Oy to Joy) and an annual conference on aging called “L’Chaim2Life!” The conference offered a one-day intensive that now includes a national keynote speaker (usually a well-known rabbi), three sessions of breakout workshops and a complimentary lunch, drawing around 250 attendees.
Today, Kavod on the Road has a substantial following and impact, with over 20 community partners, 96 annual programs, 2,500 on its mailing list and 770 participants, which grows each year by 5-10 percent. Kavod will continue expanding its services to ensure that whether on or off campus, seniors in the Jewish community in Denver will continue to thrive.