For 55 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, every May offers opportunity to hear from, support, and celebrate our nation’s elders. This year’s OAM theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved, no matter where or when you are in life. You are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotion well-being.
Across the country, older Americans – a rapidly growing population – are taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection. They are sharing their wisdom and experience with future generations, and they are giving back to make enrich their communities. They’re working and volunteering, mentoring and learning, leading and engaging.
Last year local Goodwill organizations provided services to 234,000 older Americans. Since October 2006, Goodwill Industries International (GII) has been a national grantee for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), funded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Our current investment of $21 million serves 3,500 seniors in nine states through nineteen local Goodwill organizations which provide individualized assistance with all aspects of career and financial preparation, computer skills, credentialing opportunities and job placement assistance. Individuals perform 20 hours of paid work per week in community-based training settings at more than 770 nonprofit organizations and public entities. This service connects workers ages 55 and above who have low incomes with earn-and-learn opportunities that improve their economic well-being while providing valuable services to their communities.
It is becoming more apparent that remaining socially engaged can improve the quality of life for older adults. One way that older adults (or all adults for that matter), can stay socially engaged is through advocacy. Those who use social media to engage are encouraged to follow us on Twitter @GoodwillCapHill to stay up to date on our advocacy efforts and you can register for GII’s Legislative Action Center to receive future alerts about SCSEP and other employment programs of importance.