Engaging Older Adults to Make a Better Golden Valley
The Golden Valley Community Foundation is partnering with the Vital Aging Network to tap into the skills and talents of older adults to improve quality of life in Golden Valley.
“As a first-ring suburb, twenty percent of Golden Valley’s population is age 65+, putting us on the leading edge of one of the most dramatic demographic shifts in history,” says Dean Penk, chair of the Golden Valley Community Foundation. “This generation of older adults is highly educated, skilled and experienced and they are interested in using their skills, remaining relevant and making a difference. They represent a tremendous opportunity for our community. That’s why we are excited to partner with the Vital Aging Network in bringing the Evolve: Re-igniting Self & Community program to Golden Valley this fall.”
Evolve is an innovative leadership development program designed to help people 50+ strengthen their leadership skills, focus their energies and connect with others who share their interest in being a positive force in their communities. The Vital Aging Network has provided the Evolve course in twelve communities. More that 315 individuals have completed the eight-month, one-day a week course. The program aims for both personal transformation and community transformation.
Golden Valley continues to position itself for the future. “The citizen-led community initiative, Envision Golden Valley, was an important step forward for our community. We see this program as an excellent way to continue to implement some of the ideas generated in that process,” says Penk.
Evolve classes offer a mix of exposure to new ideas, in-depth discussions, guided reflection and hands-on designing and implementing projects. According to one participant: “I continue to be amazed by and grateful for the people in this class. Their collective experience, knowledge and vision give me confidence to forge ahead with my project and life in general.” Evolve participants have produced impressive results—either as part of a team or individually.
Cathy DeSutter helped a food shelf buy and install refrigeration units so that more than 200 families now have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. According the Cathy, after the class “I continue to work with the food shelf as a member of their Development and Events committees and I joined the board of the Inver Hills Community College Foundation. Ready for something bigger than me is still my motivating motto!”
Dick Kavaney, a retired civil engineer and attorney, worked with the state of Minnesota to help rewrite state building codes to include universal design. Dick took the leadership course after his wife told him, “you’re bored and you’re becoming boring”. Since the class, Dick has remained involved as a pro-bono consultant for the state Department of Human Services, has served on several boards and was a key advocate for keeping sound walls from I-35W in downtown Minneapolis.
Don Heinzman, Mary Markham, Michelle La Beau teamed up to bring “a modern YMCA-Community Center [to Bloomington] that enables all generations, especially the 55+ population access to exercise, interact with others, have a higher quality of life, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.” The team successfully made an impact on the City of Bloomington’s planning process for the center, raising awareness for the needs of older adults.
“Life’s too short to get stuck in just thinking about what you could do,” says Carol Kronholm, Evolve facilitator. “This program helps you do what’s important to you and to produce real outcomes that will make your community better.”
Classes meet one day a month for eight months starting Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at a convenient Golden Valley location. For more information, visit http://tiny.cc/GoldenValleyEvolve . You can also reach this information site by visiting our Golden Valley Community Foundation website at www.gvcfoundation.org . See the Events 2016 tab.
About the Golden Valley Community Foundation (GVCF) GVCF is the community conduit for philanthropic giving that receives, manages, and distributes funds to benefit the Golden Valley community. GVCF’s constituents are people who live in Golden Valley, organizations and businesses located in and serving Golden Valley, and neighborhood or other community groups that support activities, developments and ideas that benefit our geographic area. GVCF is a volunteer run, federally approved 501(c)3 Community Foundation focused on enhancing life in Golden Valley, MN.
About the Vital Aging Network
The Vital Aging Network is a network of individuals and organizations that promotes self-determination, civic engagement and personal growth for people as they age. The organization provides older adults with education, leadership development and opportunities to connect.