John Mikel, Program Specialist for Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources (ADR), says that their Advisory Board is looking for new members to serve as advocates for clients and to advise ADR of the senior and disabled population in Pierce County.
“In the past we did not necessarily recruit for a targeted demographic, but now we are,” said Mikel, who added they are looking for representatives who are seniors and adults with disabilities to serve on the board.Â They are also hoping to include more young adults with disabilities in order to balance out their membership.
“A board of this nature definitely has more female members than male members and we would like to have more males as representatives,” said Mikel.
Maggie Sweasy has been a board member since 2003 and says her time on the board has given her an opportunity to lend a voice to aging or disabled individuals in her community.
When she visits Olympia she attempts to educate members of the legislature on what is important to clients and acts as their advocate.
Sweasy said another piece of her board commitment is to call folks who are receiving services such as having housework done or being driven to doctors, to be sure those services are being supplied as they were contracted.
Making sure senior nutrition programs are complying with their contracts to provide a safe and healthy meal is an important piece of Sweasyâ€™s job. “Sometimes this is the only hot meal an elderly person might get that day so we make sure they are complying with that need,” she said.
Sweasy enjoys being an advocate.Â “It is very fulfilling because above and beyond the monitoring, there is also the interaction in the legislative process,” said Sweasy who added board members also are visible at health fairs and always have a booth at the Puyallup Fair to educate others on the needs of aging and disabled populations as well as providing access to available resources.
“The board is the eyes and ears of Aging and Disability Resources and also advises on any matter that would be pertinent to the populations that we serve,” said Mikel.Â “We are grateful that our board exists, as well as for the work they perform.”
Board members serve a four-year commitment and are able to serve a total of eight years. Board members are not paid, but they are reimbursed for mileage.
“It is a huge commitment of time and energy for the board,” said Mikel, adding that after the four-year term, 90 percent of board members opt for a second term.
He sees serving on the board as a way of giving back to the community.Â Â “They are shining examples of what can be done if you have a cooperative relationship between the government and the people they serve,” he said.
Board members are involved on a monthly basis and volunteer anywhere from a minimum of three to fifteen hours or more per month. Anyone interested in serving on the board can contact Mikel at (253) 798-2823 or e-mail him at email@example.com or contact Mickie Brown at (253) 798-7376 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.