The Edmond Sun

January 4, 2013

Free training opportunity available for aging advocates

Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — A free training opportunity will be available for individuals who would like to volunteer and become community advocates for Oklahoma’s aging population. The Oklahoma Aging Advocacy Leadership Academy identifies, trains and develops volunteer leaders and advocates in issues related to aging. The course consists of 10, two-day sessions over a one-year period. Instruction is tentatively set to begin in February. The application deadline has been extended to Jan. 10.

In September 2012, the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability honored OAALA with its Excellence in Volunteer Services Award at its national conference in Washington, D.C.

“Academy participants become committed leaders for today and tomorrow to successfully advocate for Oklahoma’s aging population,” said Judy Leitner, who developed the academy for OKDHS. The academy is sponsored by the Aging Services Division and is funded in part by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The classes are at 2401 N.W. 23rd St., Suite 40, Oklahoma City, and overnight accommodations are available for those who qualify. Travel reimbursement may be provided under the state travel reimbursement act.

Meals and snacks will be provided on Friday and Saturday. Text books and resource materials are also covered. There is no tuition fee. However, since OAALA sponsors are providing tuition, each participant should plan to complete the full course.

Leitner said applicants should demonstrate a willingness to utilize constructive advocacy techniques to affect social change, sensitivity to the needs of people, an ability to see things from the point of view of others, and a commitment to building communities that include and value all older persons and persons with disabilities.

“The graduates of the academy have made, and are continuing to make, great impact on the services available for older Oklahomans. Thanks to this effort, older people of our state have almost 300 foot soldiers working for their best interests,” said Lance Robertson, OKDHS ASD director.

For more information or to apply, contact Leitner at 752-1257 or call the department at 521-2281.