Gerontology, as a practice method, is the smallest concentration at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. As expected, age is an identity we often find missing from our classroom-facilitated discussions outside of our aging classes. These small numbers and lack of training alone reflect our society's neglect to support our aging communities. Although our cohort is small, we work hard to educate our community on ageism and how it manifests in our work and our world.
In addition to leading workshops and discussions to students and community members, our aging cohort created a blog to virtually share.
Careers in Ageing & Ageism Panel
In attempt to raise awareness of our rapidly aging society, the ageism communities face, and how we as social workers can support our aging ecosystem, I organized & hosted four events with a fellow Gerontology student, Ling Lin. The first two events included a quiz to inform participants of their ageist assumptions, and a screening of the documentary How To Live Forever and follow up discussion. The next event included presentations from geriatric professionals with careers in areas such as public policy, geriatric service programs, technology and innovation, community and public saftey. The final event was a panel discussion with aging related professionals and service providers that answered a range of questions related to Elder Abuse, housing, environmental design, TBLGQ and age intersection, and more.
The middle photo is of two very special inspirations in my life: Mr. Jim Toy and Ms. Shari Robinson-Lynk. Shari has been a professor and mentor of mine since my time at U of M as an undergraduate student in the Community Action and Social Change program. As an professional social worker and trainer of young minds, we bonded over our love for our elders. From my first experiences with Shari, she took me seriously and held me accountable to taking myself seriously as a social worker and global change maker. She also introduced me to the intersection many older adults experience who identify as TBLGQ. Through Shari, I became friends with Jim Toy, who was the first person in the state of Michigan to publicly announce his gay identity.