Every May since 1963, the Administration on Aging, leads the nation’s celebration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved, regardless of your age. This belief is fundamental to SHAG communities, and its residents, one of whom, June Michel was recently honored by the Seattle City Council for her embodiment of Older American’s Month.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our resident June, who by all standards is a remarkable individual and a quintessentially engaged person on so many fronts. From her work on the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services to her mentoring of students who are considering a law career to the many ways she advocates for her fellow SHAG neighbors, June is someone we can all look up to,” said Jay Woolford, SHAG Executive Director
At a recent community event celebrating Older Americans, Seattle Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw read a City of Seattle Proclamation, signed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and eight members of the Seattle City Council proclaiming June to be a “shining example of older adults who continue to make a difference in their communities.”
June moved into SHAG’s Washington Terraces community in 2016 from California. She was looking for more than an apartment; she wanted a place where she could meet people and become engaged in her new city.
“I chose SHAG because I recognized the opportunities this community could provide me to meet and interact with my neighbors. SHAG is my first experience living in a community of people all about my age, and it has opened my eyes to the many differences and requirements of so many seniors,” said June. “For many seniors, family becomes more distant, and old friends pass away so it is vitally important to find a community where new friendships and meaning can be forged.”
June puts her skill and thrill of advocacy as a civil rights attorney to work. Through SHAG she became aware of and joined the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services (ADS) bringing attention to the needs and concerns of the community to others. Now chair of the Advocacy committee for ADS, June lobbies on behalf of seniors. But she hasn't stopped there. In April she wanted to attend the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A ) conference in Washington DC. She did not have the funds to go, so she applied for and won an essay contest for the Dennis Maher scholarship to go to DC. While there she met with Senators Murray and Cantwell as well as an Aide to Congresswoman Jayapal’s to advocate for the many needs of seniors.
“Advocacy isn't easy for most people, many seniors are afraid to speak out, but I am a lawyer. SHAG has given me another opportunity to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves,” adds June.
Beyond advocacy work, June is a volunteer for the 5th Avenue Theatre and the Discovery Shop for the American Cancer Society- both organizations she feels strongly about for what they bring to the community.
SHAG’s focus to provide communities that promote engagement for older adults with friends, family and the community at large continues to engage individuals on many levels- be it Garden Clubs, Book Clubs, Friday donuts, Movie Nights, special events, or even working on a puzzle in the community room.
“People are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. At SHAG we work every day to create a community in which our residents are engaged in many aspects of life—from events to senior advocacy, we know how important engagement is to our residents, and all older Americans,” adds Woolford.