Unity is Strength: Andrea’s Birthday Reflections After Attending a Governor’s Council on Aging Listening Session

Andrea’s sister sent her this picture of a calendar quote on her birthday, and it is perfect for BT’s mission!

“Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

I turned 47 on Wednesday. We laughed this week about all of my grey hair – and how I earned every single one of them. I started to notice fine lines around my eyes – perhaps a sign of the thousands of smiles that have shone from my face.

I woke up to cards and gifts from my husband and children. My sons’ card referenced how much I have shaped them into caring men who have a special place in the world. This – by far – is my greatest joy and achievement.

People asked me if I was taking the day off. The answer was “no,” although other years I have. On my birthday this year, I chose to drive two hours to a Governor’s Council on Aging listening session. I went to represent all those who care about and understand the power of intergenerational programming (that would be YOU) and the thousands of people who look to Bridges Together for leadership in the intergenerational movement. I went to show up and speak up – reminding this council that intergenerational programs benefit our elders of today in very important ways – and that they help prepare our youth for a world in which they will “undoubtedly play a large role in the lives of elders in their families, at work, and in their communities.” (The quote is from Bonnie, our new grant writer, hired with the funds from The Cummings Foundation. Thank you again Cummings Foundation!)

A quick birthday selfie before walking in to the Governor’s Council on Aging listening session in Pittsfield.

After the listening session, I met with members of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC), as I serve on its Advisory Council. The issues that were raised in both the listening session and the MHAC meeting were so similar, including transportation and housing challenges. I was able to share about intergenerational resources and solutions. In the coming weeks, my team and I will present an overview of how an intergenerational lens can be applied to the age-friendly domains.

Returning home, I was touched to see so many texts, call and videos. (YES! What’s cuter than little nieces and nephews singing happy birthday?) And I enjoyed a yummy dinner of my choice, lovingly prepared by my mom, and enjoyed with my parents, husband and our children.

This year, I am so filled with gratitude for the rich life I lead, for the people who are journeying with me personally and professionally and for the opportunities I have to live in a multigenerational world while I advocate for and empower others to foster intergenerational relationships.

 

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