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Brenda Lancaster, recent participant in our Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and an alumna from Lewis and Clark Community College (LCCC), has been hired to instruct the school’s first Gospel Choir, a new addition to the Music Department’s curriculum for the Fall 2018 semester.

Lancaster joined SCSEP in 2017, and was assigned to the LCCC Music Department, where she served as music assistant and vocal coach for the LCCC Rock Ensemble, under the direction of Music Coordinator Louis Michael. Caritas’ SCSEP has been working with government and non-profit organizations (including educational institutions such as LCCC) since 1974 to help provide training and additional work experience for those 55 and older.

SCSEP gave Brenda a foot in the door to her new position, for which she is grateful. “I was looking to supplement my retirement income when I learned about SCSEP. It has opened so many opportunities, so many doors, that otherwise would not have been there for me without first participating in SCSEP,” she said.

Her first placement was at Caritas, where she was responsible for recruiting more host agencies in Madison County for the program.  She was successful at getting LCCC on board.

Prior to SCSEP, Lancaster’s experience included helping to organize the Riverbend Community Gospel Choir, where she serves as the director and vocal coach, and serving as a planning committee member for the Pie Town Music Festival. She served as the Minister of Music at the Greater St. James Baptist Church in Alton for 14 years and as a booking agent for the Music Association of St. Louis (MASL) for three years.

Lancaster graduated from LCCC with an Associate in Arts degree and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business at SIUE.

Students can join her Gospel Choir just for fun or for credit, the latter fulfilling one requirement for an A.A. in Music Production.

“SCSEP was very important in helping me acquire employment on campus and is really the main reason I am able to have this position,” said Lancaster.  “I know this is by design; I’ve been doing this all my life.  But SCSEP had a way of jumpstarting a whole new chapter in my life.”

The Department of Labor provides funding for SCSEP because helping older adults remain in the workforce provides a boost to our national economy: These workers pay taxes and cover more of their own expenses during their later years. Contrary to ageist stereotypes, older workers are a good investment, rating high on characteristics such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance, and punctuality.

Want to know more? Call 618-1180 and/or visit caritasfamilysolutions.org/scsep.

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