If you know a senior citizen who’s making a difference, a local nonprofit wants to hear from you.
The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation has created a new awards program to honor older adults in Metro Detroit. The 70 Over Seventy Awards will honor the accomplishments of 70 seniors in areas such as art, business, civic and community leadership, and lifetime achievement.
Misha Stallworth is the Director of Arts and Culture at the foundation, also known as Hannan House. She says seniors are often overlooked despite the knowledge and experience they offer.
“We noticed that in this very youth-obsessed society — and especially here in Detroit with the kind of development we’re seeing — that we weren’t seeing older people being recognized for the contributions they’re continuing to make,” Stallworth says.
“We really try to get people to think differently about aging for themselves and as they look at other people.”
Stallworth, who was elected to the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education in 2016, says she sees parallels between older and younger generations.
“Both are populations that often have other people making decisions for them,” she says. “They often don’t have spaces to spend time, when you think about teenagers who have crazy curfews, and when you think about seniors, spaces just aren’t accessible to them.”
Hannan House’s stated mission is to “preserve the dignity and enhance the quality of life for seniors in Michigan.” Stallworth says Detroit’s older population is unique.
“We have a large aging population,” she says. “When you go to other metropolises, you don’t necessarily see as many older adults around still in the work force, still leading different organizations.”
To nominate a senior for a 70 Over Seventy Award, call (313) 833-1300. Nominations end Aug. 15.