Because you are an active voice in the community, the Healthy Aging Task Force (HATF)would like to invite you to join a small coalition of your peers to speak out about the growing needs of our elder population and the resulting challenges to our housing, health, human service, transportation, and social systems.
Please join us for a special event on Saturday, February 7th.
Who are we? HATF, initially developed as a sub-committee of the Dukes County Health Council in 2013, is a planning and advocacy coalition of over 70 individuals and representatives from 37 nonprofit and municipal organizations, serving Island elders and their families. The HATF plans, conducts research, and in some cases incubates programs for elders which are then operated by the established senior service organizations.
What is the HATF’s goal? The HATF’s goal is to identify and meet the needs of the exploding 65+ population, those who care for them, and those who consider the Island a potential future home. We are doing this by developing approaches and programs that increase funding for services and facilities, balancing pride in town history and community with new Island-wide relationships and collaborative solutions.
Why now? HATF was awarded a grant in 2014 to establish an outreach and grassroots movement as part of the organizations efforts to meet the needs of the island’s exploding elder population. The grant calls for us to identify, recruit, train and support people from each of the island towns to become – as we call it - ‘Senior Advocates’.
How can I help? We know you have a story of what Island elders need. It may be your own story, or that of your parent, friend, or neighbor in areas from affordable housing, transportation, caregiver support, or the desire to age at home (or more).
You can help by telling your story in two ways.First, to talk your friends and neighbors about your town and community needs and what each of them can do (both separately and in collaboration). Second, some of you may want to join us on the floor at Town Meetings and in the offices of town officials to garner support for new funding and programs.
To guide us in this effort, we are working with Health Care for All, a well-known community advocacy organization to train volunteer and HATF project staff in advocacy and leadership skills.
What would being a ‘Senior Advocate’ involve? Many HATF volunteers have been participating in one of our seven workgroups for well over a year. This specific Senior Advocate effort is focused in the short-term on preparations for the Town Meetings in April and May.
The minimum suggested time commitment would include:
‘Community Advocacy and Outreach Training’ with Health Care For All. Saturday, February 7th
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. with lunch
Martha’s Vineyard Film Center,
79 Beach Road (in Tisbury Marketplace)
The training will equip volunteers with the understanding and the abilities needed to deliver a powerful message of wanting real change for elder services and care in our community. Together we will learn and put into practice tools and techniques that boost community engagement in our neighborhoods and towns.
It Takes a Village.
As you know, Martha’s Vineyard’s insularity and the challenge of negotiating with six town governments to implement Island -wide programs makes it difficult to get new things done, and it will take town to town and real personal efforts to bring about the first stages of change.
We hope that you will make the time in your busy schedule to help us build an infrastructure that will take care of Islanders today and tomorrow.