Stories

Aug 032015
 
Striking a Creative Spark

With age and experience comes wisdom . . . and plenty of grist for good advice. Wendy Danko, a participant in the current Evolve class at Wilder Center, sees a huge opportunity for older adults to rediscover their creative selves and, at the same time, pass along something of value

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Aug 032015
 
Concerts in the Park

What’s a summer without a concert in the park? That’s the question Jan Fillmore asked last fall when she started the Evolve class. She knew that music was an essential element of a good quality of life in a community. St. Anthony Village has hosted the Salo Park Summer Concert

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Aug 032015
 
Inspiring Kids to Excel

“I am so excited about being a part of something that makes such a significant impact on kids,” says Judy Harvey, a retired IT professional and 2014 Evolve grad. Judy’s Evolve project is to work with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation to support the Inspired Educator Grant Program. The

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Aug 032015
 
Exercise Program Lessens Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Kris Gjerde, PT, MPH, kicked off a Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) class, http://www.pwr4life.org, in January 2015, at the St. Paul Parks & Recreation in Highland Park. As a person with Parkinson’s, Kris had searched for a high level PWR! class in the East Metro area without success. As she considered

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Oct 082011
 
HOPE Farm

Lynda Cannova’s project is to use a working-farm model to create a supportive therapeutic community for people with mental illness who live in the Twin Cities area providing them opportunities for healing, less isolation, having a sense of purpose and direction that leads a better life for the future. As

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Oct 082011
 
Patio Gardens for Elders

Michelle Obama isn’t the only person thinking about fresh vegetables these days. Evolve student Joann Ellis is too. Last September, she attended an event about helping Hmong immigrants start community gardens.  Ellis left the event wondering how she could assist older adults in obtaining fresh vegetables. Joann works with the

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Oct 082011
 
Fostering Housing for a Lifetime

Dick Kavaney, a retired civil engineer and attorney, worked with the state of Minnesota to help rewrite state building codes to include universal design. Dick took the leadership course after his wife told him, “you’re bored and you’re becoming boring”. Since the class, Dick has remained involved as a pro-bono

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Oct 082011
 
Helping Hmong Elders Connect in Their Communities

Miriam Carter is a retired teacher who has lived in Nigeria, Russia, and India and is spending this summer in Slovakia. Her travels have increased her knowledge about cross-cultural connections. Now, she is applying that knowledge in the Hmong community in her Hamline Midway neighborhood in St. Paul. Miriam formed

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Oct 082011
 
Bringing Fresh Foods to Over 200 Families

Cathy DeSutter began displaying her talent as a leader early in her life. Her kindergarten teacher told her mother that Cathy was a born leader. Cathy went on to demonstrate leadership throughout her high-school years, during her career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen, and in a variety of community

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Oct 082011
 
Expanding an Assisted Living Program

Kwangja Kwon, an Evolve participant in 2010, developed an expansion plan for Assisted Living Program, Grace Place, at Riverside Plaza. The Korean Service Center (KSC) operates a culturally competent assisted living program for Korean speaking elders in the Cedar Minneapolis public housing complex. Kwangja expanded the service to included about

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Oct 082011
 
A Guide for Life Planning

Peggy Gaard and Gail Skoglund believe that people can make meaningful and purposeful choices throughout their lives. They created Proactive to Stay Active: A Blueprint for Aging by Choice, to make it easier for people to do so and to be sure that those around them support their choices. Gaard

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Oct 082011
 
Helping People Be Productive and Fulfilled in Retirement

Mark Skeie was newly retired and looking for a new pathway for his life when he participated in the Evolve leadership development class. His project was to development a retirement planning workshop. He developed the workshop but felt there was more to be done. Mark started to explore the possibility

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Oct 082011
 
Connecting Generations through Story

Stories have tremendous power to shape our lives. Elders are a particularly rich source of stories that can provide valuable insights into personal and cultural history. Joy Gordon, a storyteller herself, was keenly aware of this fact when she started the Evolve class last October. She fashioned her leadership project

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Oct 082011
 
Slow, Smooth, and Soft: Tai Chi for Everyone

Steve Rukavina has studied the principles and techniques of Tai Chi for over 10 years. His love for the discipline is the foundation of his Evolve project. “I want to help people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s get the benefits of Tai Chi,” says Steve. Steve practices a

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Oct 082011
 
A Small Change in Community;<br> a Big Change in Me

My most important discovery in the Evolve class was that change occurs when like-minded people gather to exchange knowledge, experiences, and ideas. My Evolve project was straightforward. I wanted to get a number of older women together with high school girls to collaborate on a project. Together, we agreed to

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Oct 082011
 

Because of language barriers and isolation, many elders from the Oromo ethnic group originally from Ethiopia but now living in Minnesota are showing the signs of physical and mental problems. This project will establish a partnership with service organizations working in the Oromo community to help Oromo seniors participate in

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Oct 082011
 

Joy Gordon, a 2009 Evolve grad, shared insights from her Evolve experience. “The class is such an intense experience, and it takes time to step back and process the ‘shake it all about’ experiences and the ‘turn yourself around’”. It was an empowering but humbling experience to speak to the

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Oct 072011
 

One of the best predictors of healthy behavior change in a community is how well it supports active life styles for its citizens. Renee Ehlenz recognized that Sauk Rapids and Benton County in central Minnesota lacked the sidewalks, paths, and bikeways needed to encourage physical activity. She took that issue

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