Meet Boomers Leading Change: Achieving Purpose Through Service
~ By Phil Nash, Executive Director ~
The baby boom generation is rewriting the script for aging. Every day, ten thousand of us turn 65. But then what? More than ever, people of so-called “retirement age” are choosing to keep on working, keep on learning, and keep on finding ways to help their communities.
Boomers Leading Change started with a big idea: older adults are healthier, better educated and have greater depth and breadth of work experience than previous generations. We are also living in communities facing complex social problems that need knowledge, skills and commitment to find solutions. How about developing ways for older adults to share their know-how and their time to make our communities and our world a better place? Several local and national foundations invested in this idea, and Boomers Leading Change opened its doors in 2010. Our focus is on improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and our entire community.
More specifically, we have trained and deployed hundreds of adults 50+ into the community as health navigators and community health workers – an emerging niche within the health care work force that helps reduce the number of people who fall through the cracks in the health care and human services systems. Working with a network of more than 30 nonprofit organizations, we train and place volunteers in community settings where help people in need health services they need. We also help people overcome barriers to good health, such as poverty, hunger, literacy, transportation and other factors.
Boomers Leading Change operates four programs:
- AmeriCorps Encore is a year-long program that provides stipends to people 55+ for direct service to people served by 10 host sites in metro Denver. Altogether, we have provided nearly 120,000 hours of service to more than 43,000 unique individuals.
- Boomers Leading Change Volunteers serve at nearly 30 nonprofit organizations throughout the community.
- Our Advocacy Academy educates people about issues that stand in the way of people living their healthiest lives, as well as actions individuals can take to promote positive change.
- We are a Connect for Health Colorado site, providing hands-on support to people seeking coverage in our state’s health insurance marketplace. Our clients also have access to our in-house health navigator for needs beyond insurance.
Our AmeriCorps members and volunteers tell us all the time how grateful they are for the opportunity to serve, to learn and to lead. For many, their service is transformational. And most important of all, we are inspired by the many examples of impact shared by our host sites – accomplishing far more than data alone can show thanks to the caring, committed service of someone who can skillfully cut through red tape, or energetically walk the extra mile.
Is Boomers Leading Change for you? If you are 50+ an looking for ways to get involved in meaningful service to others, come to a Volunteer Information Session. Upcoming meetings are listed at BoomersLeadingChange.org. Or contact Lynette Reiling, 303.426.6637 ext. 8, or firstname.lastname@example.org.