2015 White House Conference on Aging

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Nora Super and others at Listening Sessions 2014

6. November 2014 12:52
by Nora Super

Celebrating Second Acts

6. November 2014 12:52 by Nora Super | 0 Comments

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Encore 2014 Conference in Tempe, Arizona.  Encore is a national non-profit that’s building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to solve social problems.  It was a fantastic opportunity to engage with this year’s winners of “The Purpose Prize.”  They’re social innovators over the age of 60 who Encore recognizes for using their life experience to make a contribution and a difference in their communities and around the world.  I heard numerous stories about older Americans enjoying active lives—and making substantial contributions to their communities. 


Empowering older adults with new opportunities to serve their communities is also the mission of organizations like the Foster Grandparent Program Senior Companion, which pairs older volunteers with adults who have difficulty with everyday tasks; and Experience Corps, which engages older adults as tutors to improve K-3 student literacy in low performing schools. Additionally, the Corporation for National & Community Service’s Senior Corps Program currently engages more than 330,000 older adults. Volunteers receive training and continued support so they can make a contribution that suits their talents, and they serve as mentors, coaches, and companions to people in need, or they contribute their experience and expertise to community projects and organizations.  


The individuals who participate in these initiatives demonstrate the skills, experience, and wisdom that those in and beyond midlife can bring to tackle many of our society’s most urgent challenges. That’s one of the ideas that next year’s White House Conference on Aging will explore. It’s time to shift the conversation from one that assumes that the coming age wave will overwhelm us—to one that recognizes that it can help lift everyone’s boat by tapping the power of experience to improve communities and the world.   

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