AFS Blog

Access: Creating More On-Ramps

Posted on September 26, 2018 | by Bob Carter
Access: Creating More On-Ramps

No, this is not related to concrete or asphalt highways. It’s about the continuing journey of Age-Friendly Sarasota to support and expand access opportunities for our community to connect, learn, and share. John W. Gardner was a prolific twentieth-century leader, activist, author and reformer. In his 1972 book, In Common Cause, he noted “The two most important forms of access are adequate information and a means of participating.” There is great value in having access, and that value multiplies when you share it. As a member of the World Health Organization Global Network, AARP’s National Network, and AARP Florida’s State Network of Age-Friendly Communities, Age-Friendly Sarasota (AFS) has access to significant learning and sharing opportunities including information-rich webinars. As part of its ongoing efforts to connect, learn, and share, AFS is creating convening opportunities around specific topic areas.

Recent AFS Convenings – September 2018:

Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) offered a webinar called “Creating an Age-Friendly State.” Panelists featured Robin Lipson from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Nora Moreno Cargie of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, and Nora Obrien Suric of the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. Each shared how NY and MA became the first two age-friendly states in America.

– Leveraging existing community resources, identifying new opportunities, and building coalitions
– Creating better communities for all — great places to grow up and grow old

Local and state organizations participating through an invitation from Age-Friendly Sarasota included the Sarasota Department of Health, AARP Florida and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

A webinar titled “Local Planning: A tool for making livable communities” was presented as part of AARP’s SWAT Team Speaker Series by Jordan S. Yin, author of Urban Planning for Dummies and a leading advocate for community involvement in urban planning. It was an overview of how and why communities make and use local plans.

Key takeaways:
– Nobody knows a community better than its residents
– Engagement builds commitment
– The future belongs to everyone

Local participants in this webinar included the Sarasota Department of Health, Sarasota County Government, and members of the Age-Friendly Sarasota team.

Recently, AARP Florida presented a webinar focused on the Age-Friendly Domain of Livability: Health Services & Community Supports. It featured Jennifer Johnson of the Florida Department of Health. Her overview included significant information on the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) which sets out goals for Florida’s public health system. The intended audience included statewide age-friendly communities. Age-Friendly Sarasota extended some additional local invitations.

In future months, Age-Friendly Sarasota will continue to expand sharing access to such informational resources around topical areas like housing, economic development, transportation, public spaces, planning, and reframing aging. Getting people together to help identify common goals, align existing resources, and build potential collaborative relationships is beneficial to all. It starts with expanding access and building more on-ramps to communal efforts to enhance our “community for all ages.”




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