Message to AAI Allies
12.23.14

Dear Friends, Allies, Mentors and other Leaders,

I would like to catch you up on recent developments in my life, and share my hopes for the New Year.

I have just completed the most amazing, demanding and rewarding six months of my entire work life.

From June 1st to November 30th, I served as Programs Manager for EngAGE of Burbank at Hazelwood Retirement in NE PDX.

The challenge of this half time position was as intense as my own desire to serve older adults, and to learn from Tim Carpenter’s organization.

Several of you have participated in this Pilot Project, as I call it, since it was hugely experimental, and demanded a reliance on luck and timing. In particular I want to thank Jay Bloom, Roger Anunsen, Stephen Ristau and Michele Fiasca. The refined cultural programming provided by storytellers Anne Rutherford and Pearl Steinberg, and musicians Laura Cunard, Eddie Parente, Steve Blackman, Jim Templeton, Larry Nobori’s ‘Café Jazz Trio’, Lynn Darroch and Like Horsfall were quite a departure from the standard fare in retirement community entertainment. Thank you, All!

One of my happiest moments during this six month tenure was when one of my best friends and advocates there asked us to consider the opportunity for growth and development in older adulthood, as a time to ‘Rotate the Crops’! Beverly and I will likely stay in touch. (Already she has helped me look for paying work, and has enlisted her son, who drives for a shuttle service close to the airport, and earns a good living.)

I have been applying for a variety of jobs with great energy, and several of you are among my references on my resume. With the last six months work, my resume is much stronger, and I now know what to call this niche. I am certainly beginning a new career in ‘Life Enrichment’, the newly minted version of ‘Activities’. If you can help me find the best employers in this work, please contact me.

Likewise, if there is anything I can do to help you, I will happily do that. We are part of a truly amazing movement, and it is entirely Irresistible, as Jay once told me. We certainly are in on the ground floor, Jay. When Tim’s mentor Bill Thomas came here in April this year, 700 leaders came to hear him, Tim, Roger and other leaders share the vision of the ‘Second Wind Tour’. Many of you were present. This community was ten times more energized than any other city among the 20 cities this ‘Non-fiction Theater’ project visited. Portland is certainly ready for a ‘Senior Artists Colony’ and I will be happy to be one of the conveners who gets this done. Want to help? Let’s work together to define the next steps!

I am very happy to know the quality of each of my friends who choose to participate in this work. You are wonderful! The story continues! Let me know how I can facilitate your part of it! Gary Marchke has suggested that we are Aggregators, Activators and Instigators. Sounds right to me!

With Love and Admiration!

Jim

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