Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Congratulations to Our Winning Communities!

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (center) posing with Maricopa
County residents
Today, we presented four communities with the 2014 MetLife Foundation/Generations United Best Intergenerational Communities Award.

We're grateful to our MCs author and journalist Juan Williams and our Board member Jatrice Martel Gaiter for an inspiring and humor-filled event.

This annual award heightens awareness of the important role that intergenerational solidarity plays in building strong, vibrant communities.

The event also included members of Congress speaking on behalf of their communities.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) gave a shout-out to Parkland, FL, for being an intergenerational champion. “This growing city,” he said, “will continue to thrive and succeed.”

The hardworking residents of Shorewood, WI, got some love from their representative, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D). Of Shorewooed, Moore said: “It’s without a doubt one of the four communities in our nation that demonstrates…bringing the best of youth and elderhood together.”

Robert Simon, a developer and founder of Reston, VA, recounted a story that garnered laughs from the packed room. According to him, some kids were playing by a statue the city erected in his honor.

Hayley Tsuchiyama, of Shorewood, WI, greets Reston's
founder Robert Simon after her speech
One of the boys, looking from Simon to the statue, asked the developer, “How did you get out?”

Reston Wins Best Intergenerational Community Award and Fox News Juan Williams recognizes Bob Simons 100th Birthday)

Simon's Reston and the other award recipients are redefining community life by throwing out old stereotypes and engaging residents of every age in decision-making, problem-solving and relationship-building.

Simon, who was 50 when he founded Reston in 1965, remembered the city developing from humble beginnings to where it is now. The visionary couldn't imagine his community any other way.

“If I didn’t have intergenerational relationships, I’d be  lonely,” said Simon, who turns 100 next month.  

Jessica Ayala’s remarks were just as touching. The Maya High School student, of Maricopa County, AZ, talked about overcoming her shyness and learning how to lead.

“I thought being a leader was being bossy and pushy,” Ayala said. “I learned that leadership is speaking up for others.”

Jessica Ayala, a student at Maya High School in Maricopa
County, sharing what she learned about being a leader
Her most important lesson was introspective.

“I learned,”  Ayala said, “my true self was better than I thought.”

Congratulations, again, to our winners. You can see other highlights here.

If you’re interested in more info about intergenerational communities, click here and share our resources with your networks.

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