The stated purpose of is to help older adults maintain their independence, according to , but the purpose could just as easily be creation of friendships.
No one may know that better than Mitchell Filip of Highland Park. The organization has improved the lives of his family and the people they have touched, including both Bob Rosenbacher and Larry Ward of Deerfield.
Filip is retired after 39 years working in various capacities for the Federal Civil Service as well as time in the private sector. NASA, the United States Navy and the United States Postal Service are on his resume.
Most of Filip’s time is spent caring for his adult son, Michael, who has disabilities requiring constant care. Faith in Action has improved both their lives.
“They do things together,” Mitchell said of the relationship between Ward and his son. “They go shopping; he takes him to ball games at Wrigley Field.” That break from caring for his son gives Mitchell Filip time to do things on his own.
When it is time for Mitchell Filip to get out and have some respite from his duties as a caregiver to his son, Rosenbacher steps in. Shortly after his own retirement Rosenbacher learned about Faith in Action, went to a meeting and “I was hooked,” he said of the concept.
After working with two people before Filip, Rosenbacher felt he could do more. “Robbie (Boudreau) called me and said ‘I know exactly where you should be.’ Now we hang out,” Rosenbacher added about the time he spends with Filip. It has gone on more than a year.
One of those times hanging out was a New Year’s Eve party at the Rosenbacher home. “He was the last one to leave,” Rosenbacher said. It was a time the two men, both retirees not too far apart in age, both recall as a favorite moment.
Finding matches between people is a valuable part of Boudreau’s job running Faith in Action. The group is backed by five congregations in Deerfield—, , , and —and in Highland Park.
“Our goal is not just to give people support but to create an opportunity for a long term relationship,” Boudreau said. “When we match a caregiver with a care recipient that’s what we look for and people appreciate that.”
Once a match is made, 90 percent of them last until one person is no longer participating. “It’s usually because someone moves,” Boudreau said of the other 10 percent. There are currently 103 volunteers helping 125 people.
Finding a fit is what Boudreau accomplished when she connected Mitchell Filip and Rosenbacher. Not only to they have things in common, but they have skills to complement each other.
“He knows how everything works and he’s an awesome shopper,” Rosenbacher said of Filip. “He can tell me what to do to get a better price.” Rosenbacher admits to never having been the thriftiest buyer. Filip has some experience. He bought for the government.
Filip put a serious tone on the effect Rosenbacher and Ward have had on his family. “I’d end up in a nursing home,” Filip said describing what might happen without the support.