AUGUST 3, 2015 / Legacy Project / Are you too old? Too young? Or in the words of Louis Armstrong, is the "best age the age you are?" As part of WS YOU 177, we're starting a broad community dialogue about what's good about growing up and growing older in Whitchurch-Stouffville, and what could use some improvement. Join us Tuesday, August 11, 2:00-4:00 pm at the WS Public Library to hear voices of all ages. The Honourable Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham, will also make an Age-Friendly community planning announcement. As we work to make Whitchurch-Stouffville a 7-Generation Community, we'll start exploring a vision that's Age-Friendly and Child-Friendly – PLUS.
"A 7-Generation Community is one in which all ages are supported, connected, and valued," says
Susan V. Bosak, the lead social researcher with the Legacy Project, based in WS and part of the WS YOU 177 Collaborative.
Over the next few months, WS YOU 177 will lead local focus groups and discussions around all aspects of aging in our community. We want to know what seniors need, as well as how young people feel about growing up in our community. Then a report will be completed for the community and Town Council.
By 2036, 1 in 4 Canadians will be over 65 years of age. Worldwide, for the first time in history, and probably for the rest of human history, people 60 years and older will soon outnumber children under 15 years of age.
While this historic demographic shift brings challenges, it can also be a catalyst for broad change for all generations. We need strategies to meet the needs of an older population, and we need to be strategic in utilizing the tremendous and transformational social capital of elders (wisdom, skills, experience) to the benefit of the whole community.
To help communities start planning, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed Age-Friendly community planning guidelines across eight areas: public buildings and outdoor spaces; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; community support and health services. WS YOU 177 will report on all these areas.
UNICEF's Child-Friendly community guidelines emphasize the rights of children and youth to: influence decisions about their city; express their opinion on the city they want; participate in family, community and social life; receive basic services such as health care and education; have green spaces and an unpolluted environment; participate in cultural and social events; be an equal citizen of their city with access to every service, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, income, gender or disability.
Bringing both sets of guidelines together, and going beyond, is the vision for WS as a 7-Generation Community. How can we bring generations together in innovative ways not only in support of each other, but for a stronger community for all ages?
WS YOU 177 is a broad-based community collaborative that includes the WS Public Library, Legacy Project,
Stouffville Sun-Tribune, service clubs, faith-based groups, schools and seniors groups. It empowers YOU to make a difference in a big-picture context – 1 World we all share with 7 Generations that each have unique value and 7 Billion People who each have the power to make a difference.
As the Lead YOU 177 Innovator Community in Canada, WS is inspiring other communities across the country.
Reserve your seat at the free WS YOU 177 Community Conversation on Tuesday, August 11, 2:00-4:00 pm, WS Public Library, 2 Park Drive, Stouffville by visiting www.wsyou177.org or call (905) 640-8914.