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Older Americans Month 2020:

Make Your Mark

Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors, and advocates. They offer their time, talents, and experience to the benefit of our communities.

For 57 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been a special time to recognize these contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, OAM also provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent, and materials to help communities support and celebrate their citizens. 

This year’s OAM theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities—everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action. 

These are the stories of some older adults in Bergen & Passaic Counties who are doing just that. 

Lannie Jaconia, Children's Aid and Family Services

Leslie Greenberg, Senior Source

Michael Everett, Children's Aid and Family Services

Peter Schessler, Jewish Family Service and Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic

Roberta Smith, Paterson Housing Authority

Shea Campbell, Children's Aid and Family Services (Retired)

Steven Cohen, Jewish Family Service and Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic

Steve Minarik, Easter Seals

Susan Mania, Garfield YMCA

In the spirit of this theme, here are a few ways to make your mark all year long:

Volunteer your time. Local schools, shelters, food kitchens, and hospitals always need support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries, or giving them a ride. Or, take time to pass on your knowledge. Why not tutor a student who could use extra help in math, music, or science?

Share your story. There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing a book. Take a class and learn how to express yourself with the arts! Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life.

Get involved in your neighborhood. Join a homeowner or resident association, organize a block party, or sign up for a book club or other social group. Have a green thumb? Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact.

Communities that support and include all their members are stronger! Please join us in strengthening our community!