#230. Retirees Leading Initiative

Posted on | The Agurban

Retirees Leading Initiative

While visiting and speaking in Canton, IL, recently, I learned of a great program aimed at involving retirees in efforts to improve their communities. The program’s premise states, “Today’s retirees have experiences, energy, education, skills and talents to share with the communities in which they live.” In 2005, with the help of a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation in Chicago, Spoon River College established the Retirees Leading Initiative, which prepares retirees to serve as civic leaders and, through the graduates’ outreach projects/activities, improve the quality of life in their regions.

The objectives of the program are:

  1. To prepare retirees for active roles in civic engagement through an intensive six week training presented by representatives of community government, education, economic development, emergency services, and area not-for-profit organizations;
  2. To place retirees in paid or volunteer positions of government, leadership, and education;
  3. To develop and facilitate community outreach projects that meet determined needs;
  4. To engage in intergenerational activities among retirees and community youth, particularly those designated as at-risk.

Graduates of the program are now serving as City Budget Officer, City ESDA Coordinator, City Alderman, part-time instructors, conference presenters, consultants, program coordinators, teachers in the college’s Summer Youth Program, and many other capacities.

The program was recently replicated at Spoon River College’s Havana, IL, location. In addition, the program won the 2008 Governor’s Cup Finalist Award at the Governor’s Hometown Awards.

To learn more about this program, visit Spoon River College’sRetirees Leading Initiative.