Vital Aging Network

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Creating Positive Outcomes and New Possibilities

by Pam Hayle January 07, 2016

A new year always offers a sense of new possibility and that is certainly true within the Vital Aging Network as we enter 2016.

2015 was an exciting and productive year with strong outcomes. Here are a few highlights:

  • Twenty-one individuals completed Evolve courses in Roseville and Bloomington. Participants worked on community projects ranging from exploring the possibility of bringing a YMCA to Bloomington, developing green space at the senior center to working with AARP to create a video to help people defrauded by online dating.
  • Age-Friendly Greater Des Moines launched an Evolve class in October 2015 and by all reports are off to a good start.
  • Our Wellness 50+ pilot communities—Alexandria, Hamline Midway, Oakdale and Phillips—have done exception work as they continue to grow and deepen their impact.
  • During 2015, our Aging with Gusto Task Force added members and focused its attention on creating greater opportunities for participating in these essential discussions about aging. We partnered with Hamline Midway Elders, the YMCA, Episcopal Homes and others.
  • In partnership with Lynn Englund and with funding from Ecumen, we offered our Re-defining Home workshop twice during 2015 to sold out audiences and positive feedback.
  • Use of the VAN website was up 26% in 2015 over the previous year.
  • 2016 offers exciting new possibilities for the VAN network.

Aging with Gusto is on target for doing what the just released “Final Report of the White House Council on Aging” says is our “ultimate challenge”:

“Changing the perception of aging is our ultimate challenge and charge as we go forward into the next decade. By changing Americans’ attitudes about aging, we can help every American enjoy a longer, better, more active, and more independent life, and effectively engage the challenges and embrace the possibilities that are inherent in our aging population.”

We will complete the Wellness 50+ three-year pilot in 2016 and are excited about the real impact these initiatives are having on people’s health and well-being. We plan to consolidate our learnings and expand our reach into new communities during 2016.

As more people are moving away from full-time employment, helping people find avenues to continue to use their skills and talents for common good is even more important. We will continue this work through our Evolve program and explore new ways of engaging people in civic life.

237x131_donatenow_237We also will host two fundraising events, our annual Night at the Guthrie and an evening of fun activity at Surly Brewing in October. Watch for details as these events get closer.

Join us as a part of the VAN network in 2016. Participate in a VAN program or event, consider volunteering with VAN or make a contribution to keep VAN strong. We are highly motivated for success and good work in 2016.  See you soon, and Happy New Year!




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