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By Michelle Javid (left) and Teri Dowling

This year, the Aging Action Initiative begins its sixth year as a highly regarded and successful organization supported by over 250 nonprofit and government organizations dedicated to an age- and disability-friendly Marin County. As AAI’s co-chairs for the next year, we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the organization’s talented staff and strong steering committee to continue the innovative work and advocacy that was initiated under the outstanding outgoing chair, Joe O’Hehir.  

We each bring different and complementary strengths to the table. Michelle Javid, MSW, works as the Manager of Business Development for Seniors At Home, a division of Jewish, Family and Children’s Services. Teri Dowling is a Commissioner on the Marin Commission on Aging. 

We are currently at different stages in our career. Michelle is educated as a social worker and works full time in the field of aging, and Teri is officially retired but still works a few days a week at the San Francisco Department of Public Health in Disaster Preparedness. Both of us live in Marin and are passionate about the issues that affect older adults. Both of us believe strongly in the role of advocacy to affect change.

We are excited about AAI’s newest initiative. This year, in an effort to create a stronger advocacy role, AAI formed the Advocacy Alliance. The Alliance will work with other Marin organizations to provide strength in numbers to change the conversation about aging. We want the challenges of growing older in Marin County recognized, communicated, and addressed on all levels in the community, in our organizations, and in our local and County governments.

Over the next six months, the Alliance will be working with partners across Marin to look at current data and trends to set advocacy priorities for the next few years. Aging in community (isolation, mental health, and caregiver support), economic security, housing, and transportation will continue to be AAI’s advocacy focus areas. 

Looking ahead, AAI’s innovative and much-in-demand Inform&Connect academies and Detect&Connect workshops will continue to expand and reach new audiences. The AAI newsletter will continue to be a great resource for the latest information about issues and resources related to aging in Marin and beyond. Next spring, our popular Convening will once again bring together nonprofit, healthcare, and government organizations to address current and critical issues.

It is our hope that over this next year and beyond, that AAI will continue to provide a strong leadership role in this county for information, innovation, and advocacy. We look forward to working with the staff, steering committee, and our wonderful network members next year!