Laura Newland, executive director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Thanks to everyone who joined us last month at our budget oversight hearing! I had the pleasure of presenting Mayor Muriel Bowser’s fiscal year 2019 budget, “A Fair Shot” and the investments made to support seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers.  It was great to see so many of you testifying and speaking up about your budget priorities and what’s needed to continue making D.C. the best city in the world to live and age!  To view my full testimony, visit:

Here at the Office on Aging, we celebrate our older Americans every day of the year, but this month, we join the rest of the country in celebrating May as Older Americans Month. The theme this year is Engage at Every Age, recognizing the many ways older adults make a difference in our communities and in our lives. Here in DC our older residents are the core what makes our city great. They keep our communities strong and vibrant, and remind us of what it means to be a true Washingtonian.

This month, I invite you to tell us about an older adult who has made a significant impact on your life—whether it’s someone from your past, or someone you know today—write in to us and share your story of an older adult who has challenged you, comforted you, or inspired you throughout your life.

Now I know I’ve written about my parents and grandparents before and I often talk about their impact on my life when I’m out in the community. So I want to try something new—I want to highlight new members on my team and give you the opportunity to get to know them. This month, we welcomed Alexis Griffin to our Executive Management Team as our new Director of Finance.

Alexis brings a wealth of experience to the Agency, previously serving on the Mayor’s budget team managing the Health and Human Services cluster budget. Prior to joining District government, Alexis worked in the private sector in banking and corporate finance. A Howard University alum, Alexis hails from Chicago, but is proud to call the District home!

We are excited to be working with Alexis and I know she’s just as excited about working for our older District residents. When I asked her about an older adult who has impacted her life, here’s what she had to say:

My favorite older Americans are my grandparents, Ethel and James Heads, who migrated from the South to Chicago with their seven kids in the 60’s, in search of better opportunities. They are the pillars of wisdom and guidance for our family and inspire me with their love for life and for each other.

When I visit, I enjoy when the three of us hang out, with my grandparents always providing great food, the best jokes, and entertaining stories. They’ve been married for over 62 years and are a true example of dedication and commitment to family. I’m also thankful to them for creating a culture of love and hard work in our family, which has provided me with the resiliency and confidence to reach my goals.

My grandparents are still in Chicago and I miss them every day, but I’m happy to be at the Office on Aging where I get to be reminded of them through the seniors I engage with out in the community.

I also want to hear from you. Is there an older adult who has made a significant impact on your life? Tell us about it. Write to us at the DC Office on Aging, 500 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, or email us at Tell us all about that person who has left a mark on who you are today, or where you are going in the future. I’m looking forward to reading about the many extraordinary older Americans who have shaped your lives. Happy Older Americans Month!

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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