Friends: As the new year begins, there are lots of questions being asked – many of which we don’t have answers for yet. When will we get our COVID-19 vaccine? Can we contain the spread? Why should I worry about others’ needs when I have enough of my own? When will I be able to spend my winters in a warm place again? When will it be safe to meet physically with loved family members? I have all the same questions, but I know from plans our leadership team has been developing, we have an amazing opportunity to improve the well-being of many in our community. Recently I gave presentation to Calgary Neighbourhoods called Creating a Virtual Seniors Village from a Piece of Oakridge Suburbia. I shared the Oakridge Seniors Association vision along with the exciting 14+ events and 12 programs that were delivered last year, a significant achievement given our challenging environment. What is our collective responsibility to make our community spirit stronger? It is embodied in the topic of Social Capital - which results from building a sense of community and connectedness. Residents of a connected neighbourhood have an overall sense of belonging, which leads to feelings of safety, security and better heath. OSA plans lots of opportunities in the coming months for you to become engaged, to make new friends or reconnect with others from the past. In our community, we are fortunate to have a wide range of individual skills honed over many years of working life and in volunteer roles. How do we come together in formal and spontaneous ways to benefit all, especially the most frail, vulnerable or those encountering a serious illness or recent loss of a loved one? Our world can be turned upside down in an instant when a tragedy happens. Lastly, I wanted to share a graphic that shows the breadth of connections your team has made since our inception late 2018. We’ve engaged with seniors’ groups across the city and many more from our membership with the Village to Village Network, with more than 250 Villages in the US alone. We also would not have been able to achieve so much without the strong support of Calgary Seniors' Resource Society. In addition, creating the Oakridge Community Garden has built a bridge between OSA and the Oakridge Community Association.
What are YOU prepared to do? Perhaps share an encouraging word with a neighbour or a stranger you meet on the street. Maybe a phone call to a friend or family member. Start to think about how you can pay it forward. We encourage you to invite others to join OSA’s vision of building a successful multi-generational community Barry Pendergast, President, OSA