I hate to be a downer, particularly when I’m know for being more of an optimist with this blog. But, in some ways it relates to happiness, so I’ll try to highlight the silver lining.
On Friday I got some sad news from the volunteer coordinator at an agency I volunteer for in Columbia. Apparently the United Way in town has changed it’s focus and will only be focusing on programs geared toward youth and families. Where do the elderly fit in? Apparently they don’t. At least that’s the talk around the nonprofit world right now.
Don’t get me wrong – I love United Way. I’ve interned at one, and how can I not love an agency focused on logic models and program evaluations? I’m also supportive of positive youth/family development programs. I’ve been in enough public health and policy classes with cost-benefit analysis to know that it’s incredibly important to focus on youth and families.
But data/evaluation aside, I’m still bummed.
I love the Alzheimer’s Association. Like I wrote about in my personal statement for grad school, it was actually the executive director of that agency back in South Dakota that inspired me to take the nonprofit route. If I’d gone to UNO for grad school, it was my full intention to get a graduate certificate in gerontology.
Even closer to home, though, is hearing that Boone County Council on Aging is losing UW funds. That’s the agency where I was able to get my adopted grandmother. She’s become a big part of my life and receives a number of services through BCCA. I’m definitely not going anywhere, but it breaks my heart to think of the senior citizens who may be impacted by this funding cut.
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by how impacted I was by the news. It’s no secret that I’m a big animal person (I’m generally a passive person, but if I see anyone hurt an animal I have no qualms in telling them where they can shove it), but I was surprised by what an advocate I’ve become for senior citizens.
And perhaps that’s the silver lining. I’ve found another passion and my adopted grandmother knows I’m not going anywhere. Volunteering for this program may have started out as a happiness project/personal fulfillment thing, but it’s become so much more than that. She’s become family to me, and while this new focus for UW doesn’t see them in the community impact model, she makes up a big part of mine.