Equity and Inclusion 

Improving Equity and Inclusion through Community Engagement at the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center

At the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center (SRC), our commitment to advancing equity and fostering inclusion has always been paramount. In the past year, we have taken significant steps to make these priorities even more prominent, notably by creating the position of a Community EngAGEment Specialist. This role is dedicated to promoting equity and addressing disparity gaps in access to opportunities and resources for historically marginalized populations of older adults within our county.

The primary goals of Community EngAGEment encompass several key areas:

  •  Enhancing communication with community members, ensuring that their voices are heard and valued.
  • Creating diverse and accessible opportunities for older adults, recognizing the importance of providing a wide array of meaningful experiences.
  • Strengthening partnerships based on trust within the community, as we believe collaboration is fundamental to achieving our goals.
  • Striving to increase equitable access to services, resources, and communication to ensure that every older adult in our county is supported and included.

The creation of the Community EngAGEment Specialist position was in direct response to feedback received during the development of the county's adopted Master Aging Plan, which identified a need for further growth in Social Engagement and Inclusion. Social engagement involves encouraging active participation of older individuals in recreational, social, cultural, educational, and spiritual activities, recognizing its positive impact on physical and mental well-being. We believe that engaging in various activities allows older adults to develop new skills, maintain hobbies, gain respect within the community, and form supportive relationships.

Social inclusion is another vital aspect that underpins our efforts. We are committed to educating and improving people's attitudes, behaviors, and messages towards older adults, fostering a community that values and respects all its members. By providing equitable access to opportunities and resources, we aim to create an environment where every older adult can thrive and contribute.

 The role of the Community EngAGEment Specialist is essential in achieving our objectives. Their responsibilities include increasing outreach and participation among older adults, tailoring support and resources to meet the unique needs of diverse populations, prioritizing cultural sensitivity and competency among SRC staff members, actively seeking feedback to drive continuous improvement, and collaborating with local organizations and stakeholders to advocate on behalf of older adults.

By continuing to prioritize equity and inclusion, the SRC aims to better serve the diverse communities within our county and contribute to the creation of a more equitable and age-friendly society.

To learn more about the county's Master Aging Plan and our efforts in Social Engagement and Inclusion, visit our MAP Page. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with our Community EngAGEment Specialist, Emily Ford, please feel free to contact her via email her here. Together, let's build a more inclusive and compassionate community for all older adults in New Hanover County.