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Senior Month Activities Continue Through End of May

May 14, 2008 — All during May, AARP and other nonprofit groups are working with the Department of Human Services to put together brunches, lectures, craft presentations, variety shows, a mock Legislature and other activities aimed at the nation and the territory's fastest-growing demographic: older Americans.
Locally May is Senior Citizens Month, while nationally it has come to be known as Older Americans Month.
Some activities are entertainment and social activities for seniors, and others are efforts to address issues affecting older Virgin Islanders. Earlier in the month AARP volunteers did walking surveys of difficult stretches roads on St. Croix and St. John as a service project.
"One of AARP's important agenda items is to make our communities 'livable' for our aging population and others," said Yvette Canegata-Jones, AARP's associate state director for the Virgin Islands, on Monday. "The survey's findings will allow AARP to formulate an assessment report that can be shared with government officials, ultimately urging consciousness of community needs … not only [to] support an aging population, but promote a livable community where parents with strollers, children and the disabled can safely live."
Human Services takes Senior Citizens Month every year as an opportunity to focus its attention on one of its most important groups of clients.
"It is a very important month for Human Services every year," said Monife Stout, public relations administrator for the department. "This year we have started senior focus groups as one of several initiatives we are taking in cooperation with other departments that provide services to the senior community."
Human Services personnel are using the feedback from these focus groups to find gaps in services and look at how best to fill the gaps and provide the services seniors need, Stout said.
In one of the month's more popular annual outings, seniors filled the high-backed leather chairs of the Legislature on St. Thomas Tuesday for a mock session, discussing issues of concern for older citizens.
St. Thomas also has a Cultural Day every year, which has become a popular and entertaining celebration. This year it will take place May 27 at the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, starting at 10 a.m. There will be a series of speakers, displays and presentations, Stout said.
"In the past we've had presentations of crafts made by seniors, madras fashions, demonstrations of tree grafting and jewelry making," she said. This year's mix of offerings will be similar.
These events are still to come on St. Croix:
— May 14, 10 a.m. on, Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged open house;
— May 22, 6 p.m., Senior Ball at the Reading Rainbow;
— May 23, 10 a.m., luncheon at St. Croix Government House; and
— May 28, 9 a.m. AARP breakfast at a location to be announced. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aldershville Senior Citizens Center will show and sell knit hats, crocheted rugs and other crafts made by seniors.
On St. Thomas:
— May 13, 10 a.m., Citizenship Day and mock Legislature;
— May 27, 10 a.m. UVI Cultural Day;
— May 28, 10 a.m., luncheon at St. Thomas Government House; and
— May 30, 6 p.m. Senior Ball at Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa.
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