At the Heart of Our Community

Advisory Council secretary Molly Holmes and chair Tony Provine (both at right), accompanied by ADS planner Gigi Meinig (left), met with 41st District Representative Marcie Maxwell on Senior Lobby Day in 2012.

In February, we get to the heart of matters very quickly. Valentine's Day is coming, of course; however, I'm interested in other aspects of the heart as well—keeping a healthy heart and recognizing the value of our elders.

Three articles in this issue address heart health. We appreciate the articles contributed by three of our community partners—American Heart Association, Feet First, and Northwest Kidney Centers (see links at right). They underscore what our Advisory Council and this newsletter promote throughout the year: "Get active, stay connected, and make a difference!"

But there's another aspect I'd like to address. Someone who "has a heart" is generous, kind, and tries to help other people. One way we can help other people is to advocate for more local, state, and federal funding for senior programs.

Our Advisory Council is involved in advocacy at several levels. In October, we co-sponsored the Silver Tsunami Candidates Forum on Washington's Aging Readiness on Mercer Island. In November, we held a transportation forum at Bellevue City Hall. To learn about those events, click here. Photos from the October forum are available online. In the coming year, we expect to host several forums in the community in addition to our regular monthly meetings.

ADS planner Karen Winston's digital story describes how the African American Elders Program came into being and how it serves the community today. 

The 2013 state legislative session is now in full swing. On Thursday, February 21, many senior advocates will travel to Olympia to participate in an annual event, Senior Lobby Day. The Washington State Senior Lobby provides useful information about issues and current legislation on their website. In addition, the AARP 2013 Washington State Aging Agenda is a useful publication.

Please consider joining our advocacy efforts on February 21. If you can't attend in person, keep the toll-free legislative hotline number handy so you can let your legislators know what you think: 1-800-562-6000.

This article's title was inspired by a short digital story (a video that uses photos and narration) produced by Karen Winston, one of several Aging and Disability Services planners. Hope for the Heart of Our Community tells how Karen, Margaret Boddy, and former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice founded the African American Elders Program. I hope you'll watch it and appreciate the rich history Karen shares with us through her personal story.

ADS case manager Paul Snow uses his digital story to reach out to older King County veterans who may benefit from in-home counseling or coaching.

And while we're on the topic, Karen also produced a digital story with a colleague, case manager Paul Snow. In The Program to Encourage Rewarding Active Lives: A Digital Story, Paul shares his personal experience as a Vietnam vet who needed extra support. He uses the video to reach out to older King County veterans who may benefit from PEARLS in-home counseling or coaching. I'm told that other digital stories are in the works as well.

This February, take care of yourself and others, especially those who are the heart of our community.

—Tony Provine, Advisory Council Chair, Aging and Disability Services