Friday, July 16, 2010

6 "Must Reads" if you work in Aging services or Lifelong Learning

Two weeks ago we posted to Artists to give them a jumpstart on their summer to-do lists. Now, dear colleagues in Aging services, it's your turn. This post is to encourage you to take some time over the summer to plan your arts programming. 

Creativity Matters. This is not only a true and important statement, it is the title of The Arts and Aging Toolkit written by Johanna Misey BoyerCreativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit, developed in partnership with the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the National Center for Creative Aging, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, is a resource for aging services organizations that are developing and expanding participatory arts programs for older adults. And it is available online here free-of-charge.
"The arts are the key. They enable us to communicate effectively within and between generations, making sense of and reconciling life experiences, understanding and celebrating the present, and creating a legacy for the future. They also allow us to experiment without fear of failing—to be challenged—and to succeed in learning new skills and discovering latent ones. Strengthening connections among older adults, family, friends, residents, and caregivers, the arts create a sense of community in which each person’s contribution is respected. In sum, the arts enhance quality of life."
The Arts and Aging Toolkit has 9 chapters, but here are th 5 "must read" chapters for you:

  1. Understanding the Context for Arts and Aging Programs (Chapter 1): Refresh your aging knowledge -describing normal aging, changes during aging, demographics of aging, productive aging, implications for Arts and Aging programs and the big-picture challenges to Arts and Aging programs.
  2. How Arts Participation Benefits Older Adults (Chapter 2): Learn about enhancing community quality of life as well as enhancing individual quality of life.
  3. Effective Practices (Chapter 5): Learn what effective practices are, how to identify outcome goals, how to influence others, understnad adult learning and read about examples of programs.
  4. Program Design (Chapter 6): Learn how to plan the program, find and work with partners, secure resources, and market to participants.
  5. Program Implementation (Chapter 7): Learn how to set the stage, keep on track, and support Teaching Artists.
  6. This is not another Toolkit chapter, but it's important for you to re-read our Let's Review Facebook post to set up your organization's Facebook Page. Oh, you did follow our advice and you've already set up a Facebook Page? Congratulations! Now you need to leave a comment on this post and tell us the name of your Facebook Page so we can "Like" you!
Over the next few weeks, take a break in the afternoon (when things are a bit less busy), grab an iced tea ('cause it's really hot out there) and start reading. You will definitely feel inspired and guided to better plan your 2010-11 program year.

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Thanks! Mary Catherine Dabrowski