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New York City, NY

Queens Botanic Garden

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queensbotanicgarden

New York City is widely considered to be one of the most diverse places on the planet, with residents from hundreds of different countries living within close proximity of each other. Queens in particular has a broad mix of ethnic populations, which have lead some to consider it the most culturally diverse area in the world. Yet, when Susan Lacerte became the Executive Director of the Queens Botanical Garden, she noticed that the diversity of the borough was not reflected in the Botanical Garden’s attendance. To challenge that, Lacerte started The Ambassador Program to reach out to ethnic communities and find out what they wanted in their public garden.

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Head Start

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headstart

Head Start is a federal program designed to promote school readiness by enhancing the cognitive and emotional development of pre-school aged children. Through a program called “Eat Play Grow,” a series of obesity prevention classes are offered by the Children’s Museum of New York and the National Health Institute to be held in classrooms throughout New York City. Nonprofit groups throughout low-income areas in New York teach classes to children in underserved communities. Classes are held at common neighborhood institutions, such as community centers and libraries.

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Lifetime Arts

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lifetimearts_photocredit_lifetimeartsphoto credit Lifetime Arts

Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts promotes arts programming designed to engage older adults. A nonprofit organization, Lifetime Arts is committed to developing innovative programs which support creative aging and lifelong learning. To that end, Lifetime Arts offers a variety of services and programs. The organization is a clearinghouse for best practices; provides technical assistance, information services, and professional development to the individuals and organizations serving older adults through the arts; and helps to develop policy to enhance the quality of arts programs for older adults throughout the country.

As a service organization, Lifetime Arts developed Creative Aging in Our Communities: The Public Libraries Project, a program which demonstrates the viability and value of instructional arts programs offered in public libraries as a way to build a broad base of support for creative aging programming. The Public Libraries Project showcases the library as a center for access and learning for older adults; an “age-neutral” public space, the library is an accessible hub for older adults who are reluctant to go to senior centers, and is swiftly becoming an ideal center for programs that interest seniors.

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Dances For A Variable Population

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photo_credit_dancesforavariablepopulationphoto credit Dances for A Variable Population

Dancers dressed in vibrant red move across The High Line, an elevated historic rail line turned public park in Manhattan’s West Side, enticing passersby to stop and look at the beautiful performance. Half of the dancers seem to be young, fit, and professionally trained. The other half move more slowly, some dancing in place, and some sitting. In fact, they are all older adults.

Dance artist Naomi Goldberg Haas founded and directs Dances For A Variable Population (DVP), a dance company whose goal is to erase the borders between dancers and audience through its unique choreography and dance company, comprising adults 24 to 82 years of age.  Haas enjoys site-specific dance performances, which place the audience and dancers of all ages in the same space. She says, “[In these] new conceptions of shared space, we celebrate how dance can be a vehicle for wellness and expression for seniors, persons with disabilities, youth, and regular folk; how dance can change from an ‘under-exposed’ art form in a community to become an active tool for community participation, enthusiasm, and social interaction.”

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Janet W. Thompson

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Investors in America Award
 

Janet W. Thompson is honored for her expertise in community development, engagement, and reinvestment in nonprofit and financial management. As Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, community consultant to Morgan Stanley, and former Corporate Directorof Community Reinvestment at Citibank, her spirit and leadership has propelled public and private community engagement for more than 35 years.

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Culture Builds Jamaica: The Bridge to Local Economic Development

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Bridge Builders Award (Jamaica-Queens, NY)

Jacqueline Arrington, Vice President, Citibank Community Relations and F. Carlisle Towery, President, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation for their decade long commitment to putting culture to work as a community building strategy, especially for the banks efforts in using culture as a primary resource for reinvigorating the neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens and helping to transform it into a dynamic metropolitan area.

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Bridging The Digital Divide

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Bridge Builders Award

Rey Ramsey, Co-Founder and CEO, One Economy Corporation, Ben Hecht, Co-Founder, President and COO, One Economy Corporation and Lewis P. Jones, President, The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation for innovative programs to get computer technology into inner-city homes of those cut off from the economic mainstream.

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Age Friendly Cities

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Whether you are engaged in a conversation, changing the song on your iPod, or “trying to make a light” suddenly in the midst and wonder of city excitement you can feel like you are in the middle of a real life Frogger game.  Next time you have the uncomfortable realization of immediate danger in the middle of a busy intersection, put yourself in the running shoes of an older adult. 

Take a moment to envision what it would be like to go about your daily activities with a more gentle and careful step to get an understanding of the true accessibility of a city for people of all ages.

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Creating an Age-Friendly City

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New York City is famously known for its fast-paced, move-it-or-lose-it way of life.   This attitude stems from the large number of young professionals crowding the streets; however life in some parts of the city is slowing down, if only just slightly.  New York Academy of Medicine is looking to create 2 age-friendly neighborhoods in New York City.   These pilot projects are the result of town hall meetings and focus groups involving thousands of older adults in the area.  The Academy listened to concerns people had with walking around their neighborhoods and crossing the street.  

Ideas for the neighborhoods’ development and amenities have not been finalized, but one would have businesses voluntarily place stickers in their windows signifying their “age-friendliness” while providing extra benches, adequate lighting and menus with large type.   The Academy and area businesses recognize these changes are important to attract a demographic with strong economic power.

Other street improvements would include increasing crosswalk timing signals to allow elderly more time to cross, more benches on the street and better gutter drainage at intersections.

The full article from the New York Times can be accessed here.
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Meet Me at MoMA

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New York City, NY

An interactive educational experience for older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

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