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 LCS continues to emerge from the 'ashes' like a pheonix after Lemington Home closed 5 years ago

Grace Dixon-Kizzie, BS, MSW

Interim Executive Director,
Lemington Community Services
(Click image to enlarge)
About Grace Kizzie-A Pittsburgh native, Ms. Kizzie brings to LCS more than three decades of executive leadership and administrative management experience in the fields of social work, policy advocacy, mental health services, clinical trials research and training. In the spirit of our founding mother, Mary Peck Bond, Grace Kizzie has embraced both the challenge and opportunity to ensure that the 100 plus year tradition of quality service to African American elders continues in the 21st century.
LMS Mission: Built upon Mary Peck Bond’s legacy of compassionate care more than 125 years ago, Lemington Community Services provides Afrocentric programs and services to the elder population of Pittsburgh’s East End that support independent living; decrease isolation and premature institutionalization; promote mental, physical and financial health and stability; and provide referral to other essential resources in Allegheny County.
LMS Vision: Lemington Community Services is leading a call to action where local agencies, businesses, families and individuals unite in common purpose to creaste Pittsburgh's first senior-friendly urban community that better serves the health and welfare of African American elderly, especially, frail, vulnerable and disabled elderly linving in the Lincoln - Lemington - Larmer - Belmar (LLLB) and surrounding areas in order that they may live independently as long as possible in their own homes; age actively and with dignity in a safe, clean environment; easily access critical services and resources; and remain involved as vibrant contributing members of their own community.
PUM: As the Interim Executive Director tell me about what your goals are for LCS?
Kizzie:  My primary goal for LCS is to increase visibility, expand programming, increase consumer participation, and fundraise. 
PUM:  LCS has a rich history, why is it important to save this center for the residents?
Kizzie: As noted in our mission & vision statements, Lemington's services and programs support older adults in their efforts to maintain their independent living arrangements and reduce isolation.  Our programs are taylored to meet the identified needs of our older consumers.  We provide a safe and supportive environment, where seniors can expand their knowledge base in the areas of health, education, and finance.  Our services are free.
LCS is the last vestage of our founder's (Mary Peck-Bond) legacy for compassionate care.  As you know, Lemington Home for the Aged closed 5 years ago.  LCS is a community treasure that must be preserved. 
PUM: What can the community do to help support your efforts?
Kizzie: The community can help support LCS by sharing their talents (volunteers are welcomed), promoting our programs, and via tax-deductible financial support.  (For United Way donations, please designate United Way Contributor Choice Option #79.)
PUM:  What is on the horizon for LCS?
Kizzie:  On Oct. 1st, LCS will relocate from our current location at Cornerstone Baptist Church (1701 Lincoln Ave) to a newly renovated space at the Eva P. Mitchell Buildig--1621 Lincoln Avenue--next door to the old Lemington Home.  Eva P is a high-rise facility that houses (both) older adults and people with disabilities.  The convenience of an on-site program should help to increase consumer participation and provide expanded supportive services to residents, who otherwise have not participated in such programs.
Another plan on the horizon for LCS is the Elder Village Community Initiative. This initiative would address the basic needs to maximize senior independence, optimize physical, mental & spiritual health & well-being by sustaining and/or expanding the following CORE LCS services that provide socialization, nutrition, recreation, education and spiritual support; and build a coalition of local stakeholders that will partner to create Pittsurgh's first African American "senir-friendly" community, including government agencies/leaders, healthcare providers, businesses and churches, as well as, concerned citizens and community activists.  Additionally, this initiative would increase community stability, safety & revitalization, and promote communal, social and civic involvement and awareness.
PUM:  About 5 years ago Lemington home closed, what impact has that had on your organization, how are you moving forward?
Kizzie: The public continues to equate LCS with the home.  Despite the financial hurdles that resulted in the Home's closing, LCS continues to emerge from the 'ashes' like a pheonix.  However, like the majority of nonprofit organizations, LCS has experienced significant funding cuts. Therefore, our future viability is dependent upon generating new income sources.  




Programs & Services: Call (412) 362-7301






More about Grace Dixon-Kizzie, BS, MSW

Grace was born and reared in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and completed her primary and secondary educated in Catholic grade and high schools. She received her Masters in Social Work degree in Psychiatric Social work and a Bachelor of Arts Social Work degree in Community Organization from the University of Pittsburgh.

Her interest in gerontology dates back to high school, when she worked as a nursing assistant with Villa de Mariillac Nursing Home. Over time she became a sub-specialist in gerontology and provided mental health counseling support to older adults. She also served as a co-investigator on federally funded research focused on assessing risk for HIV/AIDS infection among midlife and elder African America and Hispanic women. Most importantly, Grace has an extensive experience in program planning and evaluation of prevention programs.

Most recently, Grace’s administrative responsibilities involved managing six federally funded international programs in Kenya, Africa. Her responsibilities included, but were not limited to, public relations, financial and contract management and community capacity building focused on training a network of community volunteers.

Grace also understands philanthropy and non-profit management. For example, in loving memory of her brother (James Dixon), Grace and her family became soldiers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She and her surviving brothers (Anthony & Bryan) co-founded Pittsburgh’s first African American 501(c) (3) AIDS Service Organization—the Seven Project, Inc. Grace was the founding CEO for Grace Kizzie & Associates, a consulting and counseling agency. Her dedication has earned her numerous honors and awards.

Grace was named one of Pittsburgh’s 50 Women of Influence; one of 100 Women of Distinction. She received the Allegheny General Hospital Presidential Award and was crowned ‘Ms. Pittsburgh 2000’ at age fifty. She married Walter Kizzie in 1968, and the couple has two sons (Walt age 39 & Ed age 36).

In the spirit of our founding mother, Mary Peck Bond, Grace Kizzie has embraced both the challenge and opportunity to ensure that the 100 plus year tradition of quality service to African American elders continues in the 21st   century.

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