Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Foster Senior Club enters 67th year, keeps seniors informed

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Illustration by Ziye Wang
The Foster Senior Club meets at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center.

Throughout Evanston resident JoAnn Cromer’s childhood, her mother, Idell Williams, routinely invited her girlfriends over to chit-chat and play card games. 

The group eventually expanded, and Williams and her friends became the first members of the Foster Senior Club in 1957. Cromer followed her mother’s legacy, joining the club in 2011, and now serves as its corresponding secretary.

Cromer said the member roster from her mother’s year as vice president is still “sacred” to her. 

The club serves as a community social group and keeps those over the age of 55 up to speed with important developments and events in Evanston and nearby areas. It meets at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.

The club often gives representatives of other organizations, including city officials, a platform to present information to its members.

“When there’s an election, we get a lot of people that are running to come in and talk to us, we get senior services — all sorts of very interesting topics that we believe are very good information for our seniors,” Cromer said. 

U.S. House Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) is a frequent presenter at the club, said Kevin Mills, head custodian at Fleetwood-Jourdain.

Club members often travel together to watch plays, spend time at the arboretum and attend other events, President Rodney Greene said.

There are around 40 members in attendance at most meetings, Greene said. However, the club includes over 100 members from Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette and surrounding areas. 

The club has historically struggled to get male seniors to join and participate. Greene said only four male members actively engage with the club. 

Greene said men don’t like “hanging around a bunch of women,” while Cromer added that the “cackling” didn’t interest football fanatics.

Greene said the club is constantly trying to recruit more male members. During meetings, they always tell the men present that their job for the next week is to bring two men with them, he added.

“Nobody’s brought two men yet and so we are working on it,” Greene said. “I told them, I said, ‘We feel kind of lonely in here.’”

Bingo is held on the first Wednesday of each month. The game is facilitated by Evanston Police Department officers and is Greene’s favorite club activity, he said.

Other traditions include indoor picnics, Christmas parties and the “Senior of the Year” award.

They also have a fashion show at the end of the year where members walk the runway. The show attracts around 200 people, and the tickets they sell help raise funds for the club’s activities throughout the year. Members also pay 20 dollars in annual dues.

Mills, who has worked at Fleetwood-Jourdain for 29 years, said he looks forward to the annual show and admires the community the club has built.

“They’re just kind, loving people,” Mills said. “Grandmothers and mothers, they don’t give us no problems.”

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