Who We Are
The Vital Aging Network's mission is to promote self-determination, civic engagement, and personal growth for people as they age, through education, leadership development, and opportunities for connection. VAN is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Our vision is that people 50+ involved with the Vital Aging Network will be engaged and contributing throughout their lives. (Click on the flyer to download pdf.)
Aging with Gusto
Aging with Gusto leads a series of community discussions that works to ignite more positive views of aging, a foundation for health and well-being. Research shows that people who have a positive self-image as they age are likely to live on average seven and a half years longer (Levy et al., 2002). Aging with Gusto discussions increase awareness of ideas, behaviors and practices that are based on misconceptions and biases about older people and help people know how to live strong, connected lives. Learn more.
Wellness 50+ is a grassroots program that builds the capacity of teams of community members to provide leadership for improving health and well-being for themselves and others in their communities. Wellness 50+ puts planning and implementing in the hands of community members and, as a result, the initiatives produce innovative solutions that are tailored to each community’s specific needs. The initiatives make real change that can be sustained over time. Learn more.
Evolve: Re-igniting Self & Community
Three hundred and four individuals have completed this eight-month leadership development course. Evolve grads become catalytic leaders in our communities, playing significant roles in a broad cross-section of efforts from ACT on Alzheimer’s to fighting against sound walls for 35W in Minneapolis to leading the spring fundraising gala for Second Harvest Heartland. Evolve projects impact the lives of children, older adults and immigrant populations in the areas of health, education, nutrition, the arts and improved use of community services. At the conclusion of the class, almost 100% of grads say they are likely or very likely to continue to provide community leadership. Learn more.
VAN Forums engage people in topics that further vital aging and provide opportunities to learn from others and share wisdom. Recent forums have included: "Opioids: Friend or Foe," "Designing a Better World," and "Why Stop Working? Rethinking why, when, and whether we retire."
Community Leadership After 50
One of VAN's primary focuses is civic engagement for people 50+. In partnership with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), VAN produced the following video. The video explores the importance of civic engagement in creating sustainable communities. People 50+ have an opportunity to lead the way.
The Vital Aging Network is organized around these core principles:
- Everyone has the capacity for self-determination, civic engagement, and personal growth no matter his or her level of ability.
- People 50+ have the power to positively affect the quality of their own lives and have the potential to be catalytic leaders in their communities and in society.
- People need access to information and other people to help them live to their full capacity.
- Partnering with other organizations with shared values and missions helps each organization be more effective.
- Individuals, organizations, and communities benefit when older adults are engaged as contributing members of society.
- Everyone is responsible for addressing and resolving inequities that affect older adults in our society.
For additional information, email Mark Skeie, executive director.