Beginning this month, a few post-retirement age people will move into a new home that has a lake view never before enjoyed from a living-room window. The six-story Overlook at C.C. Young offers units with big windows opening to White Rock (not to mention spacious quarters, restaurants, parks and a beauty shop that will also be opened to the public). The newly appointed C.C. Young president Kent Shields, father of three and grandfather of six, took us on a brief tour. He filled us in on the bumpy journey to completion of the multi-million dollar project, and the role C.C. Young, the nonprofit organization where he has worked for 16 years, plays in the White Rock neighborhood.
How did you make your way to the White Rock area 16 years ago?
After serving 25 years in the Air Force, I came to Dallas from San Antonio to make my fortune, and that’s when recession hit. My father was in his 80s, and I became interested in the issues that surrounded aging. I learned that University of North Texas had one of the premiere aging programs, so I went back to school. I had to do an internship, and that’s when I arrived at C.C. Young.
Physically the campus has developed since then. Aside from that, what are the significant changes you’ve seen?
Since I started, the focus has changed from nursing home to a focus on living, health and hospice, services we can take into the community.
When the Overlook at C.C. Young was announced, not everyone in the neighborhood was excited about it. Do you recall?
Oh, yes. I was the operations manager at the time. When we started getting serious, we knew people would be concerned about how it would affect the lake and the park. A tall building, eight stories was first proposed, was unprecedented in the area, and a few of our neighbors were concerned that if we were approved, high rises would start popping up. Like those people, we are concerned about the lake and the park. We decided that, really, the answer was to improve communication. C.C. Young, we told people, has been in Dallas since 1922; we’ve been at this location since 1963. We are invested in this neighborhood and don’t want to build anything that would detract from it. However, most of the community supported the project — you have to remember, 80 percent of our residents are from the Lakewood and Lake Highlands areas. They want to be here because this is home. In fact, we feel we are obligated to build a place for these residents to live. And the support from the existing residents for the project was overwhelming. When the city council held the zoning hearing, so many of our residents wanted to attend that we chartered three busses. They filled that little room! In the end, it was approved for six stories rather than eight.
And have you heard from any of the naysayers since?
I am happy to report that some of those who were most concerned are now some of our biggest supporters. In fact one of the women who voiced the most concern, has reserved a spot for her own parent at the Overlook.
So you recently were promoted to president and CEO of C.C. Young. What’s it like being the head honcho?
Well I’ve been interim president for about a year, so though it became official last week, I have had a little time to adjust. C.C. Young is kind of like a little town. I spend most of my time thinking about our residents. There are the day-to-day concerns you deal with in any community or business, but we are able to serve people, in great thanks to our supporters in the community. We are a nonprofit, so we get contributions from churches and individuals in the community. One woman donated the funds to build a meditation labyrinth in the park that we are currently building (it will be done by the end of August), for example. Every year, we offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in benevolence — for example, a resident comes to us and says his or her savings has run out, and we work with them. Unfortunately not everyone, but many, we are able to help.
Learn more about the Overlook and other residences and services at C.C. Young at CCYoung.org, or call the residential living department at 214.874.7474.