Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Janet Sainer - Women's History Month

The world lost an intergenerational pioneer and hero with the death of Janet Sainer in 2007.

Janet, as she was known to everyone, started her more than 50 years of work in the intergenerational field in 1958, working for two synagogues in New York City after graduating with an MSW from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland.

Next, Janet joined Community Service Society of New York, where she launched SERVE (Serve and Enrich Retirement by Volunteer Experience), which functioned as the foundation for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Now administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, RSVP can be found in over 700 sites nationwide.

In 1978, Mayor Ed Koch named Janet the Commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging, a position she held for 12 years.

As commissioner, Janet started and expanded senior service programs, including the New York City Alzheimer’s Resource Center, the city Meals-On-Wheels program, the city’s Stay-Well health promotion program, new minority services, and several intergenerational programs.

After stepping down as commissioner, Janet served as a special consultant for the Brookdale Foundation Group, a position she held until her death.

At Brookdale, she showed her creative genius once again by developing the Relatives As Parents Program (RAPP) that, today, serves grandparents and other relatives raising children.

Her staunch advocacy on behalf of grandfamilies led the 1995 White House Conference on Aging to recommend adopting a policy supporting grandfamilies.

Janet had another major victory with the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP).

She encouraged Generations United to advocate for the inclusion of grandparent caregivers. When Congress reauthorized the Older Americans Act in 2000, it included the NFCSP and authorized states to spend up to 10 percent of the funds on grandfamilies.

In 2003, Generations United presented Janet with The Jack Ossofsky Award for Lifetime Achievement in Support of Children, Youth and Older Adults in 1997.

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