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Aging and Community: ASA Presents National Forum on Civic Engagement

Resource type: News

American Society on Aging |

The 2009 ASA-NCOA Aging in America Conference devoted a full day on March 16th to a National Forum on Civic Engagement, which presented best practices in civic engagement inspired by the 2006-2007 winter issue of ASA’s journalGenerations, Civic Engagement in Later Life. A group of 14 presenters, led by Marc Freedman and Nancy Morrow-Howell, included authors featured in the civic engagement issue. The five sessions attracted more than 350 participants, showcased the latest models, examples and strategies in civic engagement and sparked dynamic discussion.

“It was very gratifying to be part of a dynamic conference community of 360 people committed to civic engagement and the social impact that can result. The passion in the room was palpable,” said Robert Stein, ASA President/CEO. “Knowing that just a few years ago 30 people would attend a workshop on civic engagement, to seeing what has become a movement with hundreds of people engaged in a daylong program was a historic moment in the practice of civic engagement,” Stein added.

The National Forum was underwritten by The Atlantic Philanthropies, a major funder of several grants supporting ASA’s ongoing effort to incorporate civic engagement into its program and publication content. Former ASA Board Chair, Jennie Chin Hansen, current president of the AARP Board of Directors, followed with a presentation on civic engagement and volunteerism in communities of color. She touched on how AARP is reaching out and discussed their new website Create the Good that allows individuals to connect with volunteer opportunities. Nancy Henkin of the Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, whose writings appeared in Generations, moderated a dynamic panel on how communities can promote civic engagement in the lives of adults age 50 and over. Panelists were Clayton Fong, President and CEO, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, Stacey Easterling, Programme Executive, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National council on Hispanic Aging, Karyne Jones, President and CEO, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc., and Andrea Taylor, Director of Training, Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning.

The luncheon address featured Generations author Jim Hinterlong of the College of Social Work, Florida State University, who discussed civic engagement‘s evolution from idea to movement. Moderated by Laura Robbins, programme executive, Ageing Programme, The Atlantic Philanthropies, the session included time for interactive dialogue in order to share ideas, raise questions and build relationships. The closing segment featured Sabrina Reilly of the National Council on Aging, along with participants in their RespectAbility in America program (please see for information on this program). The panel discussed how nonprofits can utilize older Americans, either as volunteers or part of a retired workforce, to assist in community-based programs and outreach.


Photo: Left to right: Nancy Henkin, Clayton Fong, Yanira Cruz, Karyne Jones, Andrea Taylor, and Stacey Easterling.

Read forum participants responses to how we can individually and collectively raise the visibility and opportunity for older adults’ civic engagement by downloading this PDF file.

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United States


AARP, American Society on Aging, senior citizens, volunteerism