Idealease CARES – Bill Reilley, Sr. and Badgerland Idealease: Bringing Generations Together at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care
Whether an Idealease location is large or small, community involvement and charitable causes are part of our long tradition of Stability in the communities where we do business. Idealease CARES sets us apart from our competitors because we are integral parts of the communities where we live and work. Let’s shine our light on one of our Idealease Principals, Bill Reilley, Sr., of Badgerland Idealease in Milwaukee, WI and his efforts to support St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care.
Idealease Principals play a critical role in modeling community involvement for their employees and supporting a culture of caring within their companies. Bill Reilley, Sr., Idealease Principal of Badgerland Idealease (Milwaukee, WI) lives his personal belief in giving back to the community through his support of St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care in Milwaukee, WI.
Established in 1983, St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care (SAC) has a unique mission: providing community-based health and wellness day services for children and frail adults, and resources and support for caregivers. The organization’s first facility, The Stein Campus, opened in 1999, and The Bucyrus Campus, a $20 million facility, opened in 2015. Sister Edna Longeran, the founder and president of St. Ann Center, is a nationally-known advocate for promoting the benefits of intergenerational programs. Through her vision and guidance, SAC became the first dementia-specific day care in Milwaukee and one of the first fully integrated intergenerational day care centers in the United States.
“St. Ann Center provides a real homelike environment for people of all ages and abilities, regardless of faith, culture, and ability to pay,” explains Reilley. “It is remarkable how St. Ann’s brings all ages together, from six-week-old infants, to 100-plus years old elderly people. The older adults truly love to have the energy and laughter of children surround them, and the kids learn to respect and socialize with all types of people. SAC makes a real difference in the lives of the people they serve.”
The primary goal of St. Ann Center is to prevent the premature institutionalization of the elderly and adults with disabilities by providing compassionate, personal and cost-effective care during the day for these individuals. St. Ann built a Respite Center in 2007 to allow caregivers to tend to their own personal needs for a short period of time and rest easy knowing their loved one is in good hands while they stay a night or two. Bill Reilley donated a room to the Center, named Tramore, in honor of the town in Ireland where the Reilley family trace its roots.
The Center offers many planned and informal activities that include daily exercise, art and music-making for children and adults. “The kids receive one-on-one attention from caring adults, and gain respect for themselves and others regardless of age, abilities or culture. In turn, the adults gain a sense of purpose by sharing their wisdom and skills with the children,” says Reilley. “It’s truly a win-win for everyone.”
Research by Generations United (a national organization that advocates for the well-being of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational programming) has shown that older adults and young children benefit from intergenerational situations. For example, adults experience improved physical and mental health, enhanced socialization, increased personal independence, and delayed entrance into nursing homes. Children in intergenerational centers have shown enhanced social skills, lower levels of aggressive behavior, decreased drug use, increased stability, and improved academic performance.
St. Ann Center can fulfill its mission only through volunteer support and donations, and they do that in some very creative ways. For instance, outpatient rehabilitation, complementary therapies, an aquatic center, hair and nail care salon, a marketplace, and personal counseling are open to the families of program participants and the general public. Purchases of these services provides some of the funds to support the care of its neediest clients.
After many years of campaigning and fundraising, St. Ann Center opened its second facility in 2015. The $20 million Bucyrus Campus is located in one of the poorest and most underserved areas in the state of Wisconsin. Sister Edna selected the site to help provide jobs in the community, as well as deliver intergenerational day care services to the neediest citizens of Milwaukee. “Sister Edna is an extraordinary leader,” says Reilley. “She is one of the most visionary, skilled and effective executives I have ever known, and it is a pleasure to work with her as she and her team fulfill their critical mission.”
For the past 14 years, Bill Reilley has contributed his time and business expertise in several important ways to help St. Ann Center fulfill its mission. He served as the Chairman of the Board for the organization in 2006 and 2007, as Chairman of the Fundraising Committee from 2003 to 2006, and as a member of the Audit Committee since 2008. And to help St. Ann Center improve its marketing and branding, Bill leveraged the marketing resources of Lakeside International and the Navistar Marketing department to lend essential skills. “Rob Durham, our Director of Marketing, worked with Navistar’s Marketing group to provide pro bono help in crafting their messaging to succinctly and clearly communicate the services they provide and the extraordinary work they do,” says Reilley.
In recognition of his many contributions, St. Ann Center named Bill Reilley, Sr. their first “Man of the Year” in July, 2013. “This was truly one of the most humbling moments of my life,” says Reilley. “St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is an incredible resource for children and the elderly, especially the most vulnerable and underprivileged, and the caregivers who bear their day-to-day well-being. It is an honor to support this amazing organization and the great people who make it possible.”
For more information about St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, please go to their website: stanncenter.org