Older Americans Month 2020: Make Your Mark

Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors, and advocates.  They offer their time, talents, and experience to the benefit of our communities.  Each May, for 57 years, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) has promoted Older Americans Month (OAM) as  a special time to recognize these contributions.

This year’s OAM theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities—everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action.  In the spirit of this theme, here are a few ways to make your mark this May and all year long:

Volunteer your time. Local schools, shelters, food kitchens, and hospitals always need support.  Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries, or giving them a ride.  Or, take time to pass on your knowledge.  Why not tutor a student who could use extra help in math, music, or science?  Many volunteer opportunities can be done virtually until it is safe to resume face to face interaction.

Share your story.  There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing a book.  Take an on-line class and learn how to express yourself with the arts!  Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life.

Get involved in your neighborhood.  Join a homeowner or resident association, organize a block party, or sign up for a book club or other social group when it is safe to resume in-person gatherings.  Have a green thumb?  Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact.

Associate Director for Social Services, Jennifer Williams, states, “Even amid a global pandemic, Older Americans continue to make their mark in our communities.  Much focus has been given to the higher risk older Americans face in contracting the novel corona virus and are frequently referred to as a vulnerable population.  While the health risks are real and we continue as a society to practice behaviors that keep older adults healthy, it is because they are a valuable population.  We cannot afford to lose the skills, experience, and perspective of older adults, and the month of May is an opportunity to highlight the value that older adults add to our families, organizations, and communities.”

Communities that support and include all their members are stronger!  Please join GRADD in strengthening our community – Follow us on Facebook for Make Your Mark Mondays throughout the month of May.

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