Country : United States
Job title : Development Associate, Strong City Baltimore
Description : I was introduced to HelpAge in spring 2015 when Sylvia Beales came to speak to my class on Social Diversity, Inequality & Poverty about the Global AgeWatch Index, as part of a growing partnership between HelpAge and UCL’s MSc Social Development Practice programme. The topic immediately captured my interest and activated a desire to engage with ‘age’ in a more intentional way. I had already, somewhat humorously but with heartfelt motivation, announced a campaign to end ageism within my personal network. This was in part due to the fear of ageing I heard repeatedly articulated among my twenty-and thirty-something friends, and age discrimination I personally experienced in former employment because I looked young for my age but had progressed quickly to a senior role. However, hearing about an organization that was more formally campaigning for age-based rights helped me realize I could combine a personal curiosity with my advocacy and professional work. Shortly thereafter I began a volunteer placement with HelpAge supporting development of the 2015 Global AgeWatch Index report and web-release through to the September launch. This placement coincided with the run up to the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, a very significant and exciting opportunity to reimagine what the ageing experience will be post-2015. To leverage this opportunity and as part of a Dissertation Fellowship with HelpAge, I focused my dissertation on ageing and the Sustainable Development Goals, looking particularly at the international policy networks working for the rights of older people for which HelpAge has been a key player. The core finding is that we collectively create the experience of ageing through action and inaction amongst our networks, and the SDGs are an opportunity to collectively decide how we want ageing to look in the future, and act to realize that outcome.