Nvl Class of 2005 Creates New Ventures in Diversity

By Cavanaugh, Gloria | Aging Today, September/October 2004 | Go to article overview

Nvl Class of 2005 Creates New Ventures in Diversity


Cavanaugh, Gloria, Aging Today


Many Aging Today readers will already know that New Ventures in Leadership (NVL) is one of ASA's signature programs in diversity. Now in its 11th year, NVL is ASA's gold standard for promoting and developing leadership among professionals of color working in the field of aging. In this column, I want to recognize some of the outstanding-participants, called partners, from the NVL class of 2005.

Through the NVL program, participants receive training in leadership, resource and program development, grassroots advocacy, coalition building, program evaluation and much more. By attending two Joint Conferences of ASA and the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), partners are able to attend workshops on emerging issues in aging. They then develop a special project benefiting elders of color in their communities and are linked to a network of prominent leaders in the aging arena. Midway through the year, the class takes a week in Washington, D.C., to learn advocacy and public-policy skills, visit congressional representatives and learn about the culture of policymaking.

BUILDING COMMUNITY

In such places as Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area-where there has been strong support for the NVL program from local funders and service programs in aging-a growing cadre of NVL alumni are advocates for elders of color in their organizations and communities. Local leaders, who serve as mentors in the program, work with NVL participants to build a community that affirms the importance of its older population by recognizing its particular cultural needs. In aiming to enable every older person to age with dignity, NVL partners work to strengthen their local network of providers of aging services.

NVL partners come into the program through two streams. Some are nominated by their agencies, which provide funding for partners' travel to training events and cover the administrative and training costs of the program.

The other major source for partner support comes from coiporate and foundation grants that provide scholarships to selected applicants. The Cleveland Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and others have been with the NVL program since its inception.

SHARED GOALS

This year, ASA is pleased to add The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) to the growing list of NVL funders. Created in 1992 as an independent, private foundation, TCFW'S mission is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention programs. I am mentioning TCFW in particular because the foundation's goals could have been written to describe the aims of NVL:

* To address the particular health needs of traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas;

* To support and strengthen nonprofit organizations that seek to improve the health of underserved populations;

* To recognize and encourage leaders who are working to increase health and wellness within their communities; and

* To inform the development of public policies that promote wellness and enhance access to preventive healthcare.

The four partners funded by a grant from TCWF for the NVL class of 2005 provide an excellent sample of program participants:

Melissa Arris is program coordinator for the Triple "R" Adult Day Center in Sacramento, Calif. …

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