This guide is the product of a collaboration involving many individuals and organizations who care deeply about aging and the growing diversity of our nation. Since Senior Service America and the Center for Applied Linguistics started working on this guide in 2002, we have been encouraged and supported by our usually separate and distinct networks of colleagues. This joint effort has created new partnerships and brought our networks more closely together.
The American Society on Aging provided critical advice from the very start. Gloria Cavanaugh and Carmelita Tursi, now affiliated with AARP, helped us frame the issues and, later, test our Senior Scenarios with professionals in aging from throughout the nation. We hope this guide adds to their longstanding effort to advance a new standard of professionalism in aging, with diversity and cultural competence at its core.
The four leading minority aging organizations that, like Senior Service America, are national SCSEP sponsors not only endorsed our effort but also provided invaluable feedback:
- Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores (National Association for Hispanic Elderly),
- National Indian Council on Aging,
- National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, and
- National Caucus and Center on Black Aged.
Many of Senior Service America's local SCSEP partners generously contributed their ideas and experiences through interviews, site visits, and workshops at our annual conferences. They also helped us meet with and learn directly from SCSEP participants who themselves are older immigrants. Several deserve our special thanks:
- LaTonya Rhines, Marilyn McCorkle, and Robert Culver at Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments in Huntsville , Ala. ;
- Renee Griffin and Ellen Whitlock at Senior Resources of Guilford in Greensboro , N.C. ;
- Greta Peters, James Worlobah, and William Laden at East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis ;
- Jennifer Lo and David Chen at the Chinese American Planning Council in New York City ;
- Joanne Waters at the Center for Senior Employment, in Modesto , Calif.
We also must acknowledge the staff members from each of our organizations who are responsible for this guide. At the Center for Applied Linguistics ( CAL ), Miriam Burt and Lynda Terrill wrote the greater part of this guide.
At Senior Service America, Laura Chenven coordinated the work with CAL , wrote several chapters, and shepherded the guide to completion. Valdes Snipes-Bennett, and SSAI's program officers Janet Parsons, Chris Garland, Glendale V. Johnson, Eleanor LaBorde, Michi McNeace, and Mohan Singh also provided assistance. Carolyn Boccella Bagin of the Center for Clear Communication contributed smart design and navigational aids to make this guide inviting to read and easy to use.
Finally, we wish to thank Greta Peters, a former SCSEP director who passed away last year. In 2002, Greta and Bill Laden, the executive director of her agency, East Side Neighborhood Services, hosted our first site visit to conduct research for this guide.
We were eager to learn how East Side Neighborhood Services, which has served immigrant, refugee and low-income individuals and families since its start in 1915 during the settlement house movement, was working nearly a century later with a large number of Somali elders as participants in their SCSEP program. Greta and her agency generously shared their successes as well as their ongoing challenges.
We will always remember and be inspired by Greta for her openness, warmth, and commitment to building a more inclusive community.