Intergenerational Programs Thrive in Rural Minnesota

by Beth Baker. This post originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Rick Ramey, 82, has always loved monarch butterflies. So when his community of Moose Lake, Minn., built a new public pavilion, he floated the idea of establishing butterfly gardens there.

“I thought this was an ideal spot, down by the river,” he said. The community embraced the idea, and before long Ramey was organizing children to plant marsh milkweed, a food source for monarchs. He now is invited to local schools to teach students about the butterfly life cycle.

Among those working alongside Ramey in planting the gardens was Sebastien Blondo, 11. “I’ve always loved butterflies and the monarch,” he said. He’s learned a lot volunteering with.... Read More

             

New York City Program Brings Generations Together

by Beth Baker. This piece originally appeared on Next Avenue.

A large room fills with older adults and teenagers in the New York City headquarters of the nonprofit DOROT. They sit down on opposite sides of two long rows of tables filled with black-and-white chess sets.

Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, Jessica Nooney, who says she is “almost 80,” plays with Joelle Garcia, 15. Nooney learned chess as a child from her father.

“I’ve always loved to play, and I’m so happy to play with young people,” she says. Unlike when she was raising her teenage children, she adds, “It’s a different relationship when you don’t have to be the authority figure. It’s a.... Read More

             

Mapping LGBTQ History in St. Louis

All too often, history is written by those in the mainstream, and the stories of marginalized communities – the stories of our elders – are lost. A team in St. Louis is working to recapture and map the history of LGBTQ communities in the region, and last month, they unveiled their interactive online map that documents queer history across the city from 1945 to 1992. Researchers identified 800 locations that were important to the LGBTQ communities in St. Louis during that time, including bars, bookstores, HIV clinics, cruising spots, protest sites, and locations of police.... Read More

             

“We need the young folks to remember that we’re still here, and we’re still fighting.”

On Thursday, May 18th — a scorcher of a day here in New York City — I hopped on my bike and rode across the University Heights bridge from Manhattan to the Bronx to join in on the lunchtime SAGE Table at SAGE’s Bronx Center, one of hundreds of SAGE Table events happening across the country. I arrived, sweaty and hungry, to find the center’s lunchroom decked out in SAGE Table décor and buzzing with excitement. About a dozen attendees were sitting at tables covered in blue and silver cloth, and a table packed with food waited for the clock to strike 11am. I was greeted and welcomed by Marie, a regular SAGE participant, who was designated as the table.... Read More

             

Community Healing and Intergenerational Support: An Interview with Nkauj Iab Yang of SEARAC

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and we want to use this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing work that our member organizations are doing on behalf of AAPI elders. We spoke with Nkauj Iab Yang, the California Director of Policy and Programs at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). When Nkauj Iab was hired in 2016, she wrote a beautiful blog post about her family and her heritage. Now, we talk with Nkauj Iab about her work with SEARAC and some of the challenges facing AAPI older adults today.

What is your role with SEARAC?
My title is the California.... Read More

             

Refugee elders support each other after a long, difficult journey

by Hitomi Yoshida, with with support from Naw Doh, Shira Walinksy and Melissa Fogg, members of the Southeast by Southeast Community Center in Philadelphia. Hitomi is a long-time friend of the Diverse Elders Coalition, and you can read her stories of intergenerational work with diverse elders in our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative.

Naw Gay Lay is a 77-year-old Karen refugee from Myanmar (Burma). The Karen people are an ethnic and religious minority group that has been persecuted throughout much of Burma’s history.

As a young woman, Naw Gay Lay worked in a rice field and began raising her family in a rural village in central Burma. When she reached her mid-30s, the whole.... Read More

             

NICOA Advocating for Aging in Indian Country at the NCAI Convention

The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) was a significant presence at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 73rd Annual Convention and Marketplace, October 9-14, 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. NICOA reached out to NCAI in early January to offer partnership to inform tribal leaders, partners and delegates from around the nation about the issues elders face across Indian Country. NICOA is thankful to Denise Desiderio, NCAI Policy & Legislative Director, and Robert Holden, NCAI Deputy Director for their support, of NICOA’ s advocacy for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) elders.

NICOA presented a breakout session titled “Elder Issues in Indian Country” on Wednesday, October 12. NICOA coordinated a panel of speakers with expertise in aging across Indian Country. The.... Read More

             

Serve the People

This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

by Nkauj Iab Yang

Nkauj Iab_0Like many Hmong parents, my parents, Soua Toua Yang and Song Vang, came to the United States as Hmong refugees. By the age of 13, my dad was a soldier of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Secret Army in Laos. He and my mom married young. In the late 1970s, my parents came to the United States together, at the ages of 18 and 23.  My parents landed in San Francisco, California, but quickly moved around the United States to reunite with family. I was born in Denver, Colorado, the youngest and only daughter of six children..... Read More

             

Bringing Elders and Youth Together to Learn Language, Life Skills

I am a huge fan of intergenerational programming. Both children and elders can feel silenced by a world that tends to privilege people of other ages, and there’s something powerful about meeting and learning from the people who’ve come before or the people who will usher in the future. As a teenager in upstate New York, I volunteered most weekends at the assisted living facility where my grandmother resided. It was an opportunity for me to spend more time with my grandma and give back to my community — something that was already starting to feel important in my budding social justice activist soul. I’d help staff run activities in the facility’s large common area or assist with more menial tasks,.... Read More

             

Building Intergenerational LGBTQ AAPI Communities

I find myself attending LGBTQ Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) events with less and less frequency over time. At one point, queer AAPI community events made up most of my calendar; now, hardly at all. Part of it is that other activities and responsibilities occupy my time, including family responsibilities. Part of it is that my tastes have changed – I am now much happier spending an evening with a few friends at home rather than going out. And speaking of going out: part of it is my lifestyle has changed. I was recently invited to an event that started at 10:00 p.m.! I mean, who does that?! Oh, right, I did, once upon a time.

And to be.... Read More

             

The Time to Act is Now! United for Paid Family Leave

The time has come to make a change and support paid family leave for everyone. As President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanics older adults, their families, and caregivers, I will be testifying in a public hearing for the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 on Thursday, February 11, 2016.

Hispanic older adults face substantial challenges to aging in economic security and in the best possible health. Limited education and English speaking ability, combined with a lack of financial literacy, means that many Hispanics enter old age with little in the way of savings. In 2014, 80% of Hispanics lacked health.... Read More

             
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