MILWAUKEE — May 4, 2017 — Interfaith Older Adult Programs always looks forward to Older Americans Month, celebrated each May, because the entire nation celebrates those we work for every day: the older adults in our communities.

This year’s theme, chosen by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) is “Age Out Loud.” According to their website, the theme was chosen “to give aging a new voice—one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say.”

Interfaith is proud to work for thousands of older adults in southeast Wisconsin who embody this theme each and every day.

“At Interfaith, we strongly believe that growing older does not mean you have to slow down,” said Felice Green, public relations and marketing director for Interfaith. “We encourage the older individuals in our community to be active, be social, and live strong, healthy lives. And because of that, we are seeing seniors try new things, discovering new hobbies or talents, and embracing their independence. Older Americans Month reminds us that seniors are an inspiration to all of us, and we look forward to continuing to see seniors age out loud.”

On April 27, Interfaith held its biggest event of the year, the Pearls of Wisdom Celebration and Fundraiser. The event is dedicated to honoring adults who age out loud, prove that age is just a number, and make a significant impact in our communities.

At the event, Anne Presser, 89 (see left), received the “Making the World More Beautiful” award, a category for individuals 50 and better who willingly share gifts and talents to enrich the lives of others.

Anne has been an active Interfaith volunteer since 2001. She began with our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) helping youths paint personalized t-shirts at State Fair Park, and for nine years served as a tutor with the agency’s tutor program. She currently volunteers with Bingo games at McGovern Park Senior Center.

Rose Oliva, 72, also received an award at Pearls of Wisdom: the “Living Life to the Fullest” award for having a positive impact on the community and others. Rose is a founding member of Interfaith’s Southwest Neighborhood Outreach office and was a board representative when the office was formed in 1984.

Oliva (right), with Diane May, Director for Interfaith’s Southwest Neighborhood Outreach office.

During the last five years alone, Rose has volunteered more than 1,000 hours. She does it all with Southwest, from driving clients to the store, to being a top fundraiser for the neighborhood office selling coupon books. She is also a member-at-large on the South Shore Regional Advisory Council with Interfaith, and continues to volunteer with her parish on causes important to her.

In fact, many of the adults we work with are volunteers. Through RSVP, adults age 55 and better volunteer to help their communities and bring about positive social change. These volunteers: tutor Milwaukee Public Schools’ (MPS) elementary students; become Foster Grandparents and support and care for a child; help older adults navigate local resources for seniors; make daily safety check-in calls to homebound seniors; and serve veterans and their families. Some drive their fellow older adults to the grocery store or doctor’s appointments, or help serve meals at one of nine senior dining sites.

Participants have been aging out loud at senior centers for years through Interfaith. There, they stay active and engaged by taking part in activities like stained glass, crafting, woodworking, fitness classes, Wii Bowling tournaments and more.

Are you or an older adult in your life aging out loud in honor of Older Americans Month? Send your stories and photos to us at marketing@interfaithmilw.org.

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About Interfaith Older Adult Programs: Since 1975, Interfaith responds to the current physical and social challenges of aging by providing innovative programs, successful solutions, and the often much needed extra helping hand. Learn more at www.interfaithmilw.org.