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Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. has proclaimed May as “Older Americans Month” in the U.S. Virgin Islands to recognize the valuable contributions senior citizens make to our society.
This year’s theme is “Connecting Our Community.” The designated month is an opportunity to recognize and thank seniors for their daily efforts in nurturing family, providing wisdom and experience, and for their support to younger generations. Their involvement and personal perspectives are an important part of our daily lives, and we appreciate their role in our society.
President John F. Kennedy introduced Senior Citizens Month in 1963 in recognition and appreciation of the role of older citizens in our society and to honor their contributions in communities nationwide. Their diversity of knowledge, including familial networks of support, professional achievements and noteworthy contributions lie at the center of our national celebration. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter changed the name of the month-long commemoration to Older Americans Month, and thirty-one years later, our recognition of this special time continues to be deeply meaningful. This special month provides us with the important opportunity to focus on both the contributions and needs of our senior citizens, and to consider how we as a territory must prepare to meet the needs of the future.
Seniors pass on our cultural history, heritage and leadership skills that are needed to face the challenges of the present. To show our deepest appreciation and strong support for them, we must focus on the needs of elders as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities. Older Americans Month is an appropriate time to call attention to the importance of creating comprehensive and coordinated systems of services which offer a wide range of options and which are truly responsive to the needs of older Virgin Islanders.
In recognition of this month, Governor and First Lady de Jongh are overseeing the creation of a video, highlighting senior citizens territory-wide. The video will be viewable on channels 6 and 10 throughout the month of May on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., as well as on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. The short video features the diversity of talents and accomplishments of Virgin Islands seniors and provides a special tribute to Mother’s Day.
Also, on May 11 at 7 p.m., Addie Ottley will interview representatives of the Senior Citizen Division of Human Services on WTJX’s Face to Face television broadcast.
And, the Department of Human Services will host open receptions on May 13th on St. Thomas and May 20th on St. Croix for Dorca’s Care, a new non-profit organization that matches caregivers to those seeking assistance.
Governor deJongh asks all Virgin Islanders to focus attention on the positive impact families and communities can have on the lives of elders, and calls on the appropriate government agencies, as well as civic, community, and non-profit organizations to continue to channel efforts toward improving the quality of life for our senior citizens.