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Community for All Ages: Initiative Makes a Long-Term Impact

The Community for All Ages Coalition held its final meeting on November 14, 2019. Launched in 2011, the Coalition aimed at preparing our Eastern Jackson County community for the challenges and opportunities created by the doubling of the age 65 and older population over the next 20 years.

The Coalition has accomplished some amazing things in the past eight years.

Developed Age-Friendly Communities
Many Eastern Jackson County cities have been recognized by Mid-American Regional Council (MARC) as Communities for All Ages, celebrating the steps they’ve taken to become more welcoming to residents of all ages and, in the process, more vibrant, healthy and prosperous. Currently, Independence and Lee’s Summit are at the gold level and Blue Springs and Raytown have been recognized at the bronze level. Grain Valley’s bronze level status is pending approval.

Improved Access to Transportation
The Coalition provided a forum for city representatives and transportation providers to connect and collaborate to create transportation solutions for older adults in several Eastern Jackson County communities.

“This is really not an age-specific issue,” said Susan Wray, Mid-Continent Public Library Assistant Director & COO. “If we can solve transportation issues for seniors, we are solving these same issues for other members of our community and truly making it a community for all ages.”

Connected Volunteers to Local Opportunities
Truman Heartland partnered with the United Way of Greater Kansas City to promote the Get Connected website, a database of volunteer opportunities throughout the region. Additionally, the Coalition provided scholarships and networking opportunities for local volunteer managers and initiated the Boomers Get Connected social media campaign, creating an easy, accessible and enjoyable path for people of all ages to volunteer.

Built a Dependable Resource for Caregivers
In 2015, the Coalition merged the Care Connection directory, a self-built online directory for seniors and caregivers in Eastern Jackson County, with Link for Care, creating a comprehensive database that covers more than 9 counties, 119 cities and 50 transportation services. Now, seniors, caregivers and care managers across the region can find the information and services they need – all on a free and user-friendly website.

At the meeting, David Warm, MARC Executive Director, commended Truman Heartland’s work with the Community for All Ages Coalition. Warm noted that not only did the Foundation take on the issue when it was largely unknown and make a difference, but it focused on collaboration, took the time to listen to community members and most importantly, stuck with it for eight years.

The Community for All Ages Coalition is a great example of using collective impact to work toward an inclusive, age-friendly community and provides a model that we hope will be incorporated in neighboring communities and across the region.
 

Community for All Ages Coalition Leaders



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