AAI SPOTLIGHT: Looking Forward


jackson headAAI Program Director Linda Jackson shares highlights from Aging Action Initiative’s three-year strategic plan Moving Forward Together.

The AAI strategic plan was a major collaborative effort. At AAI’s Convening in Spring 2017, people did the initial work to define the values we hold dearest in our collective work. They also wrote out initial vision ideas of the network in 2020, and brainstormed actions of how the network can be successful. The planning dialogue continued with key community leaders in retreat late Spring, and again at the July 6th meeting of the Marin Commission on Aging. The AAI Steering Committee approved the final plan in October. The Steering Committee consists of representatives from:

To see a complete list of network participants click here.

The AAI Strategic Plan is built on the foundation of five values:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Equity
  3. Respect
  4. Compassion
  5. Communication

The AAI Strategic Plan contains two key strategies for 2018:

Coordinate and co-sponsor events, programs, and workshops with partner organizations.

A new project for AAI in 2018 will be “2018 Year of the Older Adult”. In January, the Marin Board of Supervisors will kick off a year-long program to promote Marin as a great place to grow older, celebrate the social, cultural and economic contributions of Marin’s older adults, raise community awareness of ageism affecting opportunities for older people, showcase collaborations, and identify new strategies, programs, and resources to support and address the needs of Marin’s older population. We’re looking forward to a year of programs highlighting the best of Marin, and advocating for changes so all in Marin, as the County says, “live long and live well”.

Lead the Countywide age-friendly planning and implementation efforts.

What is an age-friendly world? “Age-friendly” is a term used by the World Health Organization to describe its goals for communities facing demographic changes.

“It is a place that enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities. It is a place that treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy to stay connected to those around you and those you love. It is a place that helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages. And it is a place that helps those who can no longer look after themselves to live with dignity and enjoyment.”


This international initiative helps cities and communities taking steps to address physical and social barriers that persist around the world. In the United States, AARP operates the age-friendly movement under the auspices of the World Health Organization.

The age-friendly movement has arrived in Marin, full speed. In 2018, the County of Marin will begin work on an age-friendly plan for the unincorporated communities and neighborhoods in the County. At the same time, jurisdictions that do not yet have an age-friendly plan will be encouraged to complete their own plans. The early adopters, Sausalito, Corte Madera and Fairfax, are models of what can be achieved through this community-building effort.

In 2018, the Aging Action Initiative will also work on expanding organizational capacity, to better serve as a resource hub and identify service gaps.

We’ll be highlighting four issue areas in our advocacy:

  • Housing (a place to live)
  • Aging-in-Community (at-home resources, social isolation and mental health)
  • Economic security
  • Transportation

The fires in the North Bay have made our own housing crisis all the more urgent. Older renters are losing their long-time homes, the number of seniors who are homeless (“I’ll just live in my car.”) is increasing not just in Marin but around the Bay Area, and caregivers increasingly find the cost of living in Marin unsustainable.

People want to stay at home, but isolation can be an enormous problem when it’s no longer possible to drive. People on Social Security are worried about potential cutbacks, and older people continue to face ageist discrimination.

What is AAI’s vision of the future?

The Aging Action Initiative is an effective organizing network that promotes a healthy, safe and engaging quality of life for all older adults to thrive in Marin County. Comprised of members from the non-profit, government and healthcare sectors, we are proud to represent the diversity of Marin’s older adults. AAI is spearheading an age-friendly Marin through education, policy advocacy, and service coordination, focusing on aging equity issues in Marin County.

Aging Action Initiative (AAI) is a collective effort of more than 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commission and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment. For more information visit agingactioninitiative.org or connect with us on Facebook.

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AAI SPOTLIGHT: Emergency Preparedness


 Marin County CERT Coordinator Maggie Lang shared about emergency preparedness, special considerations for older adults, and how collaboration is everything in her vision for an age-friendly Marin.

Maggie Lang 2015What kind of work do you do?

I am the Coordinator for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program for the County of Marin and also work with the Get Ready program. CERT is a national program under FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) with more than 600,000 CERT-trained emergency volunteers.

In Marin, we have 10 CERT classes a year in five different locations, including Novato, San Rafael, Central Marin, Southern Marin and West Marin. Residents from 14 – 90 years of age take the classes with an average age of 52. Classes are about half men and half women. We partner with local fire departments to put on the CERT classes. The classes cost $45 to cover the cost of class materials. We also offer scholarships.

Triage AreaIn the last few weeks during the Sonoma and Napa County fires, CERTs worked at the Civic Center and Terra Linda High School shelters, assisted Mill Valley staff in a shelter set up at Tam High (which was not needed in the end), and set up and maintained a site at the Strawberry Seminary for fire fighters in Sonoma to come here to rest and breath some clean air.

The Get Ready program started in Tiburon 10 years ago. Get Ready is a free county-sponsored two hour training, facilitated by local fire departments and community volunteers. The Get Ready program teaches people what they need to be prepared to take care of themselves and their families. For more information or to see the class schedule, click here.



How did you get into this kind of work?

My background is in nursing. I was a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. I started volunteering and teaching first aid classes in my kids’ schools. In 2011, the County received a grant for a countywide training program, so I’ve been coordinator now for almost seven years.

How does someone sign up for CERT classes?

You can find info, classes or contact us through the Ready Marin website. Registration is offered online through PayPal or by printing the registration form and mailing a check for $45.00.

What are the benefits of the CERT and Get Ready programs?

We provide people with information and safety skills for disaster preparedness. It can feel overwhelming – I have three kids, and used to worry about what I needed to have to take care of them for 5-7 days if a disaster occurred. We need to have water stored up first, and camping gear is helpful for people who want to shelter in place.


Following a disaster and depending on advice from our public safety professionals, residents will either need to stay at home or leave their home for a safer location. If families are able to shelter-in-place at home, they need to have enough supplies of food and water for five to seven days. Before Katrina, it used to be for only three days, but this has been expanded to a week.

Older residents benefit by knowing what to have on hand to be able to take care of themselves for up to a week after a disaster.  For example, they need to have food and water, a first aid kit and medications. They also need extra glasses, batteries for hearing aids and any mobility assistance. We are there for people to reach out about their personal situations, and we help people take advantage of the information resources so that they can be prepared.


In what ways does your work/organization help our older adults?

Our CERT classes are open to all residents and seniors are welcome. We have had several active 90-year olds take classes! We don’t teach any differently for older residents, and we are able to teach our classes to people that may have limitations.

The sad take-away from the Northern California wildfires is that a number of the people who died were older residents with mobility issues. The speed of the fire and that it occurred at night made it very difficult for people to help each other.

We emphasize that disaster preparedness is about being prepared and about neighbors helping neighbors. Neighbors can check on their older neighbors, give people a ride, or help people who have difficulty getting out.  Firefighters are fighting fires and doing what they can to assist with evacuation but it’s important for older residents to have a plan with family members and neighbors to assist them if necessary. Our Ready Seniors program offers guidelines and resources to help seniors plan and prepare for an emergency.

Please share one of your favorite stories:

I have two stories, both about women who took our CERT classes. They were able to utilize the skills they learned in the classes to put out small fires that would have become big fires if they hadn’t known what to do.

older-adult-putting-out-fireThe first woman told me about a fire that started in a frying pan while she was cooking. She had never used a fire extinguisher before and, because of her CERT training, she was able to use it to put out the fire before it became a larger fire.

Then, during a class last spring, a woman told us about a fire that had started on the hillside behind her house. She grabbed her fire extinguisher, and knew enough to be able to put out the fire. She called the Fire Department, and they came out and said great job!

Both felt empowered enough to understand the situation and used the skills they had learned in the class to put these fires out.

Tell us about your/your organization’s involvement in Aging Action Initiative:

I stay informed through the website and newsletter. I enjoyed reading last month’s newsletter!

Specifically, tell us about your relationships/partnerships in the AAI network:

We work with the whole community! We worked with the Canal Welcome Center to establish a community emergency plan for the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael and Marin City. I personally attended the meetings with the Canal Emergency Preparedness Council and Marin City Disaster Council.

We also work with businesses, such as AutoDesk and Whole Foods, and non-profits such as Senior Access and Mill Valley Village. The members of the AAI network might like know about a business ready program we offer to help them be prepared. It’s called The Marin Business Emergency Readiness Program.


We have many community partners. A big partnership is with Marin County Medical Reserve Corps, which is a national program. It’s for people trained in medicine, public health, safety, logistics, project management, behavioral health, and other support areas to be part of a response team when needed.

What is your vision of an age-friendly Marin?

An age-friendly Marin is one where neighbors are aware of all the people in their neighborhood and are assisting people who are older. This includes people who may have mobility or language limitations, so they can be recognized and part of the community and not be isolated. An age-friendly Marin is one where neighbors are helping neighbors so everyone is included in everything.

Aging Action Initiative (AAI) is a collective effort of more than 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commission and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment. For more information visit agingactioninitiative.org or connect with us on Facebook.

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Woman on phone

Wednesday November 1, 2017 | 9 am – 4 pm | FREE Workshop |

A free, daylong interactive training about information and resources specific to older adults 85+ and those who need more resources.

Inform and Connect Logo

This training is designed for help-desk, information hotline, and other front-line volunteers or staff who provide clients with information about programs and services available throughout the county for people who are 85 and older or need more advanced resources. Specialists on the following topics will share their knowledge, expertise and resources through short panel presentations and audience Q&A:

  • Vision
  • Senior Peer Counseling
  • Home Maintenance
  • Pets
  • Meals
  • Telephone Reassurance
  • Care-Giving
  • Dementia
  • Aging-in-Place
  • Residential Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Hospice Care

Attendees will make connections with professional colleagues, build professional expertise, and enhance their service to the community. CEUs available.

Who Should Attend

Front line volunteers and others who support the resource referral needs of people 85 and older and those that need more advanced resources.


Registration problems? Call 415-492-9444

To view/download the flier, click here.

About Aging Action Initiative

The purpose of the Aging Action Initiative is to promote a county-wide age-friendly environment, especially for those in need, collectively created by a strong network of aging service providers through education, policy advocacy, and service coordination. The initiative is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commissions and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin, and coordinated by MARINSPACE.

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Marin Bolder Advocacy


September 29, 2017 | Marin County change makers gathered for A Nuts & Bolts Training for Marin Nonprofits Inspired to Lead Policy Change with Rise TogetherAlliance for Justice and United Way Bay Area.

In these times, many non-profits want to advocate for policy change, but aren’t sure how far they can go. This free workshop was designed to help nonprofit leaders to be bold and take policy advocacy to the next level.   Attendees learned the ins and outs of advocating legally as a non-profit from representatives of Rise Together and Alliance for Justice, with guest speakers from United Way Bay Area’s policy team.

Sara Matlin, Counsel; Bolder Advocacy Initiative, Alliance for Justice
Amalia Chamorro, J.D.; Vice President of Public Policy, United Way Bay Area
Will White, MPP; Director of Policy and Government Affairs, United Way Bay Area

Topics covered:

  • 501(c)(3) organizations’ rights to lobby;
  • Your annual lobbying limit;
  • What does and doesn’t count as lobbying; and
  • How to make the most of your lobbying power.

This training also covered the federal tax law rules about nonpartisan activities for 501(c)(3)s, including how to:

  • Advocate for your organization and your community in a nonpartisan way;
  • Educate the public about the candidates and the issues at stake; and
  • Engage your community members in voter registration, get-out-the-vote efforts, and other election activities.

View/download PDF version of the presenter’s slides below:

Alliance for Justice:

United Way Bay Area:

Questions? Call Bolder Advocacy’s hotline during business hours, where their lawyers are standing by: 1-866-675-6229

rise-together-logoRise Together is a coalition of over 200 partners working to create economic opportunity and prosperity for all through collective action, shifting systems that are no longer working, and redefining what is possible for Bay Area residents. Partners from all sectors across the Bay Area are asking a critical question: Is it in our collective interest to have so many families in our community without access to opportunity and the thriving Bay Area we all envision? What is the opportunity cost for the Bay Area community to not have these families as equal parts of our economy and our communities? Rise Together is working with these partners to learn together, scale what works and create a collective regional voice for change.

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AAI SPOTLIGHT: Advanced Resources


AAI Inform & Connect work group member Fred Silverman shares about the work of Aging Action Initiative, the benefits of collaboration, and the importance of accessing the resources to deal with advanced stages of aging.

What kind of work do you do?

fred-silvermanWell, at the Inform & Connect Workshop a few weeks ago, I described myself as “unaffiliated”, which got a laugh, but it’s not really true.  I’m a new member of the Marin County Commission on Aging.  I serve on the Health and Nutrition Committee.  We’re planning a series of presentations in a few months.  I’m also on the Aging Action Initiative’s Inform & Connect work group putting on wonderful workshops for front line and help desk workers.  We’ve done four of those so far, and I helped facilitate.

My passion right now is working with school volunteers through 10,000 Degrees (formerly Marin County School Volunteers). My work is in two schools in Marin City and Mill Valley.  Almost all the volunteers are seniors. In these schools, we have 45 volunteers. I believe that more than 40 of them are over 60. It’s a way to connect the young and the old, something we all need.

How did you get into this kind of work?

I worked for the U.S. government for 15 years in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. My wife and I started doing volunteer work with the Marin AIDs Project in the 1980’s, and then I decided to go back to school and studied Social Work. After I graduated, I worked at Hospice by the Bay, Kaiser and other hospice agencies. When I started working fewer hours, I joined the Marin County Civil Grand Jury. We released Aging in Marin: What’s the Plan? (2014). One of our recommendations was to ‘improve information and referral phone lines to make them more user-specific, friendly and immediate.’ The report turned out to be influential as now we have 415-457-INFO (4636) which improved things considerably.

Inform and Connect Logo

How does the Inform & Connect WorkGroup work?

We’re a group of volunteers who meet monthly to put together the programs for the AAI training workshops. My interests and work experience exposed me to a lot of issues that people 85 and older, like my father, encounter. The two issues that keep coming up for me are changes in health status, and the end of life.

The change of status is a huge unacknowledged problem. One day, being 85 is fine, and then with a fall or a mgy-photo-03-alz-caredoctor’s appointment and a new diagnosis, in one moment, everything changes, and people flounder. No matter how much you know, there’s still that moment when you don’t know what to do.

With the issues regarding end of life – we need to do better in talking about this. The Inform & Connect group decided we’re going to address this with our training workshop on November 1. To learn more, click here.

What are the benefits of the AAI Inform & Connect Workshops?

In the trainings, people increase their knowledge about available resources. They have a better understanding of the needs of older adults. And, they have the chance to network face to face. Hopefully, participants will leave the training better able to provide useful information for their clients.

inform-and-connect-2How does the Aging Action Initiative help you in the work you do?

Well, AAI has helped me professionally and personally. The AAI Convenings showed me that there are over 100 groups working on issues of older Marin residents. I learned more about them, and understood better how they could and should work together. It can be challenging with so many options for people to get the care they need, when they need it, without any coordination or collaboration. This is one way AAI helps – by making us aware of what other groups are doing when working with older adults.

Personally, AAI has helped me as I navigate the care needed for my father, who is 95. Even with my years of experience, it was a shock when, several weeks ago, I had to immediately find care for him when he had a fall. My hope is that with AAI, we’ll help smooth those times when people suddenly need help to get information, care and assistance.

senior-bike-rider-bwPlease share one of your favorite stories:

Well, this isn’t a pleasant story, but it is timely. This last weekend, my wife and I were in the gym, and we got a phone call about my dad falling – this was followed by five hours in the emergency room, and us working through the uncertainty of finding him 24-hour care and making all the arrangements. I know all about this because of my previous work, but I still had to figure out how to do this, and we worried about him on so many levels. We were lucky to have an agency available that could respond to his needs and then to have a bed available in the heath care unit where he lives.

He’s safe now, thankfully, but it was an insight into what people go through: the uncertainty, the stress, the guilt. It’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing.

How has collaboration helped you do your work? Specifically your relationships/partnerships in the AAI network:

I’ve gotten to know people in the AAI workshops, and make connections between people. Since I volunteer with mainly older adults, I’ve been able to point a few people towards the services that they need.  And, I’ve learned that in spite of all the uncertainty and stress of our work, people step up and help when they know what to do.


What innovations do you see coming in your field?

I think that we should see more and more older adults using technology to find services and hopefully, the information will be more and more easily accessed.

What is your vision of an age-friendly Marin?

One that takes really good care of older residents… one where the young and the old are connected. That’s done through volunteering, the collaboration of the multitude of non-profits and interventions by the County to provide seamless access to services for older adults and younger people in Marin. If a pathway is safe for a wheelchair, it will be safe for a stroller. I’d like to see caregiving navigators to help people move through the phases of their lives as they get older. That would be a benefit for all of us.


Aging Action Initiative (AAI) is a collective effort of more than 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commission and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment. For more information visit agingactioninitiative.org or connect with us on Facebook.

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