From the Executive DirectorBy Katie Brandon
We can only create community through partnerships. Over the past year, we have expanded the amount and depth of partnerships with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, and government entities. I want to share with you our growing relationship with Cal State LA. Cal State LA is here in our backyard, and is ranked first in the nation for upward mobility of its students, many of whom are first-generation college students, and over 90% of students are people of color. We have been incredibly impressed by the determination and passion of the students who have engaged with Pasadena Village over the past year. We just concluded a marketing project with four communications students, and in Fall 2022 we worked with four Masters of Public Health students on a community engagement project. Esther Gillies and I have offered a Master of Social Work internship placement to Lyle Tooks and Julie Coveney, who will be Pasadena Village’s first interns from Cal State LA starting this August. We look forward to welcoming both Lyle and Julie, and furthering this fruitful partnership with Cal State LA.
Every month over 50 gatherings grace our calendar — from ping pong to discussions of world affairs, from urban walks to knitting. Members engage and develop deep friendships through quality programming, intimate gatherings and mutual support so they can age in place with grace and joy.
Over the past year, we have built our capacity; celebrated our 10th anniversary; offered over 50 programs and events for free to the public; launched a new website and membership database; hosted the February Older Adult Resource Fair; and again joined with the City of Pasadena Senior Commission to expand the celebration of Older Americans Month. None of this is possible without our volunteer organizers and two new staff — Priyanka Kumar and Hannah Rough-Schock — who coordinate our communications and programs.
Over $100,000 in foundation funding this year has enabled us to embark on new programming, including Walk with Ease — for those with joint pain to get back in the habit of walking; the Creative Aging initiative — celebrating art, music and creative outlets in our lives; and the Ready or Not program we will launch this fall. These grant-funded programs were only possible due to the generosity of the Navigage Foundation, the anonymous Matching Gift Challenge grant, the Pasadena Community Foundation, the John F. Merrell Foundation and additional foundation gifts, including those from four local Rotary Clubs!
Pasadena Village is part of the national village movement, and this year, we were recognized for our efforts in Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Belonging among the movement. Village Movement California, our statewide coalition, asked us to present on our progress toward welcoming and better reflecting the diversity of our community. We have a way to go, but we have made a concentrated effort to reach out, engage with, and welcome members of the LGBTQ community and our African American neighbors. All are welcome at Pasadena Village, and we hope to partner with you in continuing to create an environment where we can all age better together.