Celebrating 60 Years

Our founder Armand Marquiset (1900-1981) established Les Petits Frères des Pauvres (Little Brothers of the Poor) in 1946 to serve Parisian elders who lost their families and savings in World War II.

Some 13 years later—and 60 years ago—Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, Chicago Chapter, began creating friendships with the elders we serve.

Serving Our Elders in Chicago and Beyond: 1959 – 2019

Cool Timeline


Three Petits Frères des Pauvres staff members are sent to Chicago to establish Little Brothers of the Poor. The first chapter in the U.S. was based on the French model, featuring visits, social opportunities, and holiday celebrations for lonely, isolated elders. Our first Christmas Party was held for 40 elders.


Based on the French experience, we began offering vacations to Delavan, WI, to provide elders with the opportunity to forge new friendships and close bonds.


Little Brothers bought a building at Belmont and Paulina, which would be our home for 31 years.


We purchased a vacation home in Rochelle, IL, to begin welcoming large groups of elders for longer getaways.


Our name changed to Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) to better reflect who we are and the individuals we serve.


Services in Spanish were started to reach out to Spanish-speaking elders.


Intergenerational experiences were launched to bring students of every age together with elders to promote interaction and share history— and life—lessons.


We moved from Belmont Avenue to a multipurpose facility at 355 N. Ashland Avenue with more space for programs and a more central location for elders and volunteers from every Chicago neighborhood.


To fulfill the wishes of every elder, we launched the Holiday Gift Program. Today, more than 1,000 elders receive a special, personalized gift—often, the only holiday present they can expect.


We purchased our first minibus. Today, we have a fleet of 14 vehicles to provide our elders with safe, comfortable transportation to and from LBFE events and outings.


We opened our computer lab, The Lloyd Walding Brain Fitness Center, named in honor of Lloyd Walding, a loyal friend and supporter. Every Monday and Thursday, elders learn new skills to stay sharp and enjoy online puzzles or listening to music.


The Young Professionals Advisory Board launches. The YPAB is a group of civically minded individuals, ages 24-40, who support LBFE and our elders through fundraising and social and volunteer activities.


We expand to serve elders in Northwest Indiana where, today, we’re active in Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Merrillville, Schererville, East Chicago, Highland, and Whiting.


We launched evidence- based evaluations to measure our programs’ effectiveness in ending elder loneliness.


A new spring holiday tradition began with the first Fête d’Armand Marquiset to honor our founder. Today, the Fête is our largest party of the year.


The opening of Audrey’s House, our Year-Round Program and Vacation Center in Batavia, IL. Named after elder Audrey Chesner, who cherished vacationing with her LBFE friends, Audrey’s House offers elders afternoon visits, overnight stays, or four-night, three-day getaways surrounded by friends and wide-open green space.


Every year Little Brothers welcomes Volunteer Program Assistants, who dedicate a year of service to our elders. We train them in the field of aging, and many move on to careers that serve seniors. This year we welcomed our 200th Volunteer Program Assistant.


In our 60th year, Little Brothers serves 1,200 elders with the help of 1,700 volunteers. Beginning in 2020, we’ll expand our programs and services for lonely, isolated elders in Kane and DuPage counties, where we aim to serve 300 new elders by 2025.