The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island
What drew you to the field of aging or gerontology?
As a director of a statewide agency focused on reducing poverty among children and families, for many years I shared an office and worked collaboratively with the Rhode Island chapter of the Gray Panthers. I was impressed by their members' energy, fire and dedication to fighting for a better community. I was also amazed by their stories of surviving on very limited incomes. Five years ago, when I had the opportunity to take on my present position organizing seniors to promote "aging in the community" opportunities, I jumped at it.
What is your specialty or area of interest?
I am focused on empowering people to change policies, laws and programs that will enable seniors to "age in the community" longer and with better quality of life. While I work primarily with seniors and help them develop leaders for this cause, I also engage seniors' families, caregivers, and anyone concerned about having a good quality of life as they age. As a baby boomer I have a very immediate self-interest in this issue, which is always a good thing for a community organizer.
How do ASA's resources and education help you with your work?
As a newcomer to the field of aging, I have relied heavily on the ASA's resources for my education in senior matters. Foremost has been the ASA's Annual Aging in America Conference--I've attended every one since starting this job. Beyond its superb workshops, plenaries and exhibitors, it has been a fabulous networking venue. It has enabled me to meet 1 on 1 and build relationships with national experts who have been generous with their time and advice. "Generations" is always required reading for me, and ASA Webinars have also been very helpful.