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NYSOFA celebrates Older New Yorkers' Day 2024

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Wed, May 15th 2024 01:50 pm

Honoring older adults for their volunteer and civic engagement efforts

Information Submitted by the New York State Office for the Aging

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) recently honored 100 older adults for their volunteerism as part of NYSOFA's annual Older New Yorkers' Day celebration, which took place May 14 in Albany, during Older Americans Month. New York's 59 county offices for the aging and their partners nominate older adults who have made their communities a better place for all through their outstanding volunteer and civic engagement efforts.

In a proclamation, Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "Older New Yorkers' Day is an annual event organized by the New York State Office for the Aging to recognize nearly 100 older adults who are shining examples of volunteerism. … These dedicated individuals are powering connections in so many profound ways, and New York state expresses profound gratitude for this spirit of altruism, which is a legacy of lasting benefit and inspiration to all New Yorkers."

NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said, “Every year, it’s an absolute privilege to recognize older New Yorkers who have made their communities a better place through their tireless dedication to serving others. Older adults make a positive impact on every community across our state through their knowledge, economic capital and civic engagement. NYSOFA is honored to highlight their contributions. I also applaud our 59 county offices for the aging and the Association on Aging in New York for providing and advancing vital services to older adults across the state every day.”

Assembly member and Aging Committee Chair Ron Kim said, “It is an honor and privilege to recognize today’s honorees for their volunteerism and civic engagement. In our state, there are close to 1 million older New Yorkers, ages 55 and over, who are volunteering almost 500 million hours. This translates into almost $14 billion of economic value. So, whether you are mentoring, providing tax services, transporting, or meal prepping – I want to say, thank you – our state is deeply indebted to you. As your chair, I will continue to look for ways to return our gratitude and build New York into the safest state to age in."

AgingNY Executive Director Rebecca Preve said, “The Association on Aging applauds the incredible contributions of older New Yorkers to their communities, and we are thrilled to participate in Older New Yorkers’ Day. Volunteers provide invaluable service across the state and should be celebrated for their dedication and commitment to making a difference. We congratulate each and every incredible volunteer honored this year.”

The honorees are recognized for their support of charitable causes, their work with local health care and human services organizations, grassroots civic contributions, volunteer work with emergency management corps, local fundraising activities, and so much more. Awardees also include volunteers for two statewide NYSOFA-administered programs: The Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (or HIICAP) and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. These volunteers assume specialized roles that demand many hours of training, intricate problem-solving, and coordination with local organizations to help older adults.

This year’s honorees have collectively volunteered more than 2,400 years of service, raised 219 children, 356 grandchildren, and 71 great-grandchildren.

Read the program book here to find awardees from your region.

Governor’s Exemplary Volunteer Service Award

During the ceremony, NYSOFA and state officials presented the 2024 Governor's Exemplary Volunteer Service Award to Van B. Robinson of Onondaga County. The awardee is chosen for special distinction from among nominations by local offices for the aging and community partners.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Robinson has served on multiple community, charitable and religious boards. He has received many awards for his professional work and volunteer contributions, including commendations from the American Institute of Architects, the NAACP Freedom Award, and the Benjamin Banneker Democratic Club Achievement Award. Additionally, he was the first African American president of the Syracuse Common Council, and the New York State Fair honored him with the naming of Van Robinson Pan-African Village.

Contributions of older adults

Older adults provide unmatched intellectual, social and economic capital to our state. Annually, older adult volunteers in New York contribute 495 million hours of community service at an economic value of $13.8 billion. Individuals over 50 years of age account for the most volunteering, philanthropy, entrepreneurs, and donation activities in the U.S. out of any demographic group. These older adults contribute $72 billion in state and local taxes (39% of the total), a contribution that will triple to $255 billion by 2050.

New York state is dedicated to creating an environment for older adults to lead healthy, fulfilling, and independent lives for as long as possible. To further these goals, Hochul established the Master Plan for Aging in November of 2022. The MPA will promote policies and services to improve the lives of today's older New Yorkers, people with disabilities, and individuals of all ages. Ultimately, these efforts aim to create a state where all older adults have the opportunity to be active and engaged in their communities, as exemplified by the honorees recognized this year.

Background about Older New Yorkers’ Day

Each year, since 1963, federal, state and local governments recognize Older Americans Month in May. New York state goes a step further by holding a special observance of Older New Yorkers’ Day by collecting nominations of exceptional older adults from county-based offices for the aging.

More on the New York State Office for the Aging

NYSOFA continuously works to help the state’s 4.6 million older adults be as independent as possible, for as long as possible, through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them. Stay connected: Visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on X or visit aging.ny.gov.

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