Benevilla celebrated the opening of a new satellite office Thursday evening, June 26. The office is housed in the Peoria Main Library and will be staffed by Benevilla Information and Referral Specialists and member of the Benevilla Family Resource Center.
The event was attended by Peoria City Council Members including Bill Patena, Benjamin Toma, John Edwards, and Carlos Leone. The Peoria Chamber of Commerce was represented by Chamber President Scott Soldat-Valenzuela. Benevilla Board Members in attendance included Vice Chair Jane Willis, Secretary Karen Laughlin, Treasurer Thomas Rochford, Dr. Todd Aakhus, John Bridgford, Birt Kellam, Ken Mueldener, and Dr. Richard Stuckey.
Peoria Councilman Patena, a longtime advocate of Benevilla, and Benevilla President & CEO Michelle Dionisio spoke to the crowd before the dignitaries cut the ribbon, officially opening the office for business.
“This is a very exciting day for me, personally,” said Councilman Patena. “Having Benevilla at this facility actually makes Peoria a better city.”
“I spent almost 18 years with the City of Peoria, and for about 15 of those years I attempted to get Benevilla out here,” the councilman continued. “There were a couple of years where they were housed in the old City Hall. Oftentimes I would come out of my office and I would see that people were lined up four deep outside their office. I knew then that Benevilla has real purpose in our city.”
The Peoria Adult Day Center, located at the Church at Cactus, is one of Benevilla’s original centers. It has been in operation for over 20 years, assisting the senior population of the Peoria/Glendale area.
The need for a walk-in office in Peoria was highlighted by two inquiries made during the event: one library patron came over to ask about services, another filled out paperwork to become a volunteer in Peoria.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Michelle Dionisio. “So many of the residents that we serve in Peoria have had a difficult time connecting with our Surprise office for volunteering opportunities or for assistance. We are just so grateful for Councilman Patena’s help all these years and in securing this space, and we are looking forward to doing great work for and with all Peoria residents.”
Benevilla was recently recognized by the Peoria Chamber of Commerce as the 2014 Nonprofit of the Year.