The Council on Older Persons (COOP) has been a standing committee of The Center for Community Solutions for more than 70 years. As we look back at 2019, COOP continues to distinguish itself as a leading destination for information about senior issues, and a vocal advocate for local seniors. Under the leadership of outgoing COOP chair Catherine Ciha and vice chair Stacey O’Brien, COOP has made great strides to improve communications internally as well as externally and foster connections with the Greater Cleveland community. COOP continues to strive for excellence. The Council on Older Persons continues to serve as a vocal advocate for seniors in Greater Cleveland - learn more about COOP's accomplishments this year in @WillTarter's piece Click To Tweet
COOP has made great strides to improve communications internally as well as externally and foster connections with the Greater Cleveland community.
The organization maintained a healthy attendance at all of its meetings, and attendees heard presentations from many community leaders, including:
- Jose Feliciano Jr., Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
- Fred Collier, Director of City Planning, City of Cleveland
- Melanie Shakarian, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
- Cleveland City Councilman, Ward 3, Kerry McCormack, Vice Chair, City Council Health and Human Services Committee
- Simone McNair, Encore Staffing
In addition to these guests, the 2019 COOP general body meetings featured two to three-minute speeches about each member organization, their priorities in the coming year and opportunities for partnerships.
“Each presentation was so interesting because, even though we know each other and work closely with each other, COOP members revealed new projects and priorities.”
“Each presentation was so interesting because, even though we know each other and work closely with each other, COOP members revealed new projects and priorities,” Ciha observed. “Exercises like these are interesting because many members have long-standing histories and accomplishments in the community — the A.M. McGregor Foundation, the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, are just a few that are continuous supporters who bring history, knowledge and a solid reputation to our actions. But, they also always have new projects that help all of us keep moving forward.”
In early 2019, COOP partnered with Cleveland State University to be a part of the Anna V. Brown Conference on Aging. The conference convened for the first time in 10 years at the A.M. McGregor Home in East Cleveland where it focused on the current state of African-American elders in Greater Cleveland and what can be done to improve the quality of life as they age.
Additionally, COOP presented public testimony on the State of Ohio’s transportation budget, as well as on the 2020-2021 Cuyahoga County biennial budget. COOP’s Legislative Committee, co-chaired by Yvonne Oliver and Denise Rucker-Burton, actively monitored public policy changes at the city, county, state and federal levels. The committee ensured that COOP stayed aware and engaged on issues of public policy that affect older adults.
COOP spearheaded the planning of “Be Counted: Seniors and the Census,” a community conversation about seniors’ critical importance in upcoming U.S. Census conversations.
Finally, under the leadership of Program Committee co-chairs Marsha Blanks and Marlene Robinson-Statler, COOP spearheaded the planning of “Be Counted: Seniors and the Census,” a community conversation about seniors’ critical importance in upcoming U.S. Census conversations. Sponsored by the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, the Saint Luke’s Foundation and Cuyahoga County, the event featured remarks from Cleveland City Council Majority Leader Phyllis Cleveland and Dr. Nada Martinovic from the U.S. Census. A panel discussion featured Danielle Sydnor, President of the Cleveland NAACP, Kathy Foley, from Services for Independent Living, Elaine Tso from Asian Services In Action, Inc. and Tracey Mason, Administrator for Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services. The discussion was moderated by Emily Campbell, Community Solutions’ Associate Director. Attended by 70 people, the event was successful in distributing important information about the 2020 Census.
COOP will also hear from the chair of the Cleveland City Council Health and Human Services committee, Blaine Griffin, and learn from a follow-up presentation from Martinovic about the U.S. Census later this year. COOP’s 2020 agenda will be led by a new chair, Stacey O’Brien, who currently serves as a professor at Ursuline College.
“As COOP looks to 2020, it promises to be a decisive year for policy moving forward, from the U. S. Census process, to the Presidential election, it is vitally important older adults are at the table,” said incoming O’Brien. “We must remind the community that senior issues affect the entire family, from children to working adults. Whether those issues are about safety, transportation, housing or financial exploitation, we all must advocate to maintain dignity and a high quality of life for all older adults, which will lead to stronger communities. I look forward to that opportunity.”
“COOP continues to serve as a vocal advocate for seniors in Greater Cleveland,” explained John Corlett, President and CEO of Center for Community Solutions “Its ability to bring together stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, makes it unique in our region, and it remains critical to carry out our organizational priority of protecting the well-being of older adults. Community Solutions also thanks and congratulates the outgoing chair, Catherine Ciha, who has been a steady leader for COOP for the past two years. We look forward to working with Stacey O’Brien as she assumes her new position as leader of the council.”