When Janet Cushing and her husband Kirke moved from Burr Ridge to Oak Park to live closer to their son and his family, they knew they were leaving more than their home behind. They were leaving their friends and community as well.

Janet and Kirke, who is living with dementia, are residents at Belmont Village in Oak Park. While Janet quickly connected with other residents at the building, it wasn’t until a friend suggested that she attend a Monday Lunch at The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association in 2018 that Janet truly felt introduced to the Oak Park/River Forest community.

“I walked in the lounge where the members were gathered before lunch and fell in love,” Janet remembers. She loved it so much that after lunch and the program (the Nineteenth Century’s program season runs weekly on Monday afternoons October through May and contains engaging presentations on topics ranging from art, music and literature to science and the social sciences), Janet became a member on the spot.

But she didn’t stop there. Janet has since invited four other Belmont Village residents to Monday Lunch. Feeling the same warmth and inclusivity as Janet, each of her guests become members as well. “I certainly miss our Mondays and appreciate all the programs [the organization] continues to do,” Janet adds, referencing the Nineteenth Century’s commitment to continue its 20-21 program season via Zoom until it is safe to resume in its ballroom.

Janet embodies the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association’s mission of strengthening its community through learning, giving, and sharing our landmark building.

To learn more about membership, the organization’s upcoming virtual Monday programs or to make a donation, please visit www.nineteenthcentury.org or call 708-386-2729 x 3.

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