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Lt. Governor Prettner Solon Convenes Summit on Civic Engagement and Older Minnesotans

September 27, 2011
Summit will examine how to better utilize the talent of older Minnesotans; Recommendations will be used to bolster effectiveness of Senior LinkAge Line’s upcoming civic engagement service
St. Paul — Today, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon convened a statewide summit with leading organizations on aging and volunteerism to explore how adults, 50 years and older, can be a vital part of addressing critical statewide issues through volunteering and community engagement.  The organizations involved, including AARP, Twin Cities Public Television, Hamline University, and Minnesota Senior Corps Volunteer Programs are on the front lines when it comes to building the capacity of Minnesota to address the challenges it faces now and in future.  
The network of leaders in volunteerism from across Minnesota came together to explore ways of eliminating existing barriers for older adult participation in volunteer and civic engagement roles, and worked to determine concrete next steps to develop a coordinated statewide network to harness the skills and talents of this growing population.
“Minnesota Seniors are some of our state’s greatest resources. This summit is about finding ways to engage Minnesota’s aging population, harnessing their skill, experience and energy and engaging them in solving some of the most pressing issues facing us now and in the future,” Lieutenant Governor Prettner Solon said.
 Areas specifically explored were: 
• Preparing individuals 50+ in how to become engaged in their communities and to find opportunities which meet their skills, passion, interest, and talents
• Developing systems or networks to link people with volunteer opportunities
• Preparing organizations to make effective use of 50+ talents, particularly for complex work needs 
The plans developed at today’s summit will be documented, and summit participants will take part in follow-up discussions over the next few months to continue their work. A report summarizing the outcomes of the summit will be delivered to the Lt. Governor in the next six months.  
The summit will help launch the expansion of the Senior LinkAge Line to provide another avenue for older Minnesotans to get connected to opportunities for volunteering and civic engagement. This new service will be available before the end of the year and will build on the work that is already being done in many areas of the state.
The Summit is the result of a unique collaboration between the Minnesota Board on Aging, Aging 2030, AARP, and the Invisible Force, an open collaboration of individuals and organizations working to promote and support civic engagement and volunteerism by those age 50 and older. 
About Aging 2030
Aging  2030 is a joint venture between the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Board on Aging, and the Minnesota Department of Health, in conjunction with several other state agencies.  The purpose is to prepare Minnesota for the coming age wave of Baby Boomers and a permanent shift in the overall age composition of our state’s population. 
About the Invisible Force
The Invisible Force is a collaboration of individuals and organizations who are working to promote and support civic engagement and volunteerism by those age 50 and over. Past efforts have included three annual conferences on this topic. Organizational members are: AARP, Brain Injury Association of Minnesota, Century College, Greater Twin Cities United Way Caring Connection, Hamline University, Hands On Twin Cities, Hennepin County Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration, Minnesota Network of Hospice & Palliative Care, Minnesota Senior Corp, RSVP/Volunteers of America of Minnesota, ServeMinnesota, Twin Cities Public Television, Vital Aging Network.