By Tasion Kwamilele
The Commission on Aging is a non-profit, community-based organization that advocates for the senior citizens in Richmond. Members of the commission, which has existed for 20 years, are chosen by the mayor and approved by the City Council.
“Our main goal is to be the voice for the seniors of our city. We work diligently to support and inform our seniors with necessary information,” said Eli Williams, the commission’s chairman.
To serve the community, the organization hosts workshops on topics and issues of vital interest to senior citizens, such as how to prevent falls, nutrition, emergency preparedness, housing, crime prevention, elder abuse, fraud, power of attorney, wills and availability of para-transit services.
“In Our recent Healthy Life for Seniors workshop, we partnered with Doctor’s Medical Center and showcased ways to prevent illness and how to live with health issues in these hard economic times. We had a great turnout; over 100 seniors were able to come out and participate,” said Williams.
The commission also publishes and distributes its own newsletter to more than 1,000 seniors. Articles in recent issues covered health, housing, elder abuse, health, finances, personal safety and transportation.
The organization also sponsors field trips around the Bay Area, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
Financial support from Richmond businesses has helped the commission stay afloat. While the city plays an active role in selecting the commission’s board, it does not support the group financially.
“The mayor has been on our side, and she even comes out and supports our workshops,” said Williams. “Currently, we are in discussion with the City Manager, so hopefully our plea has been heard, and the recreation department budget will be expanded to include the Commission on Aging”.
Williams emphasizes that each commissioner on the board is an “every day”Richmond citizen, and the board is looking to fill vacant positions so that all areas of the city can be represented. “We are just passionate seniors working on behalf of seniors, to fulfill the needs of our community,” he said.
The commission will host its annual Senior Winter Ball Dec. 11 at the Richmond Auditorium, 3230 MacDonald Ave. in Richmond.
Individuals interested in serving on the board of the Commission of Aging should visit the Richmond City Clerk’s Office. For information call Eli Williams at (510) 232-4690.