Winona Friendship Center Activity Council, Inc received a $6,300 Cycle 1 Community Grant from the Winona Community Foundation in 2022. This grant supported their PEARLS program that offers a free and comprehensive program that empowers individuals and enables them to lead fulfilling lives.

In an effort to provide accessible mental health support to older adults in Winona County, the Program to Encourage Active and Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) emerged as a beacon of hope. As the grant period unfolded, the impact of PEARLS exceeded expectations, leaving a profound mark on the lives of participants and the community.

Thirteen individuals were screened and approved to participate in PEARLS during the grant period. Although three individuals ended their participation early due to various reasons, the remaining participants showcased unwavering commitment and resilience. Two clients successfully completed the program, while the other eight are diligently continuing their sessions. A remarkable total of 77 sessions took place, demonstrating the strong demand and value PEARLS holds in the community.

The testimonials from PEARLS participants paint a vivid picture of the program’s transformative effect. One client enthusiastically shared, “I would encourage anyone who needs a ‘boost’ or help in sorting out any life confusions or challenges to attend this program.”

Participants who completed the PEARLS program also attested to its transformative power. One client expressed, “This program helped me to see my life in a new way,” highlighting the profound shift in perspective that PEARLS facilitated. Another participant acknowledged that the sessions helped them focus on one issue at a time and provided valuable resources to address those challenges effectively.

Looking ahead, Elder Network is committed to expanding the reach of PEARLS, particularly to individuals residing in rural areas of Winona County. The program’s impact has already demonstrated immense value, and the organization aims to ensure that more older adults can access its empowering benefits. With ongoing support, dedication, and a shared vision for holistic well-being, the program is set to make an even greater impact in the years to come, offering a lifeline of support to older adults and fostering a community where every individual can thrive.

An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. Funding for this program comes from generous people, like you, who invest in the community and the Foundation. Whether through direct donations, establishing endowments, or holding charitable funds at the Foundation, these diverse sources of funding are instrumental in supporting the community grant program. As a result, local nonprofits in the Winona area greatly benefit from this program, which has become an essential asset in meeting the needs of the community.

To learn more about the Winona Friendship Center Activity Council, Inc, please visit