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Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit
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9.3: Developing Messages

As a first step, consider why you want to increase public awareness. The answer is:

Program Example: Public Awareness Goals

The goals of the Arts and Inspiration Center developed by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Heart of America and Great Plains chapters are:

  1. To increase understanding about what happens in the Arts and Inspiration Center, therefore decreasing the unknown for the potential participant and his/her family
  2. To give an opportunity to talk about the importance of addressing Alzheimer’s disease in the early stages
  3. To inform the public about the various supportive services of the Alzheimer’s Association, the area agency on aging, and other community resources
  4. To give a different face to Alzheimer’s disease
  5. To give participants an opportunity to assume an advocacy role
  6. To allow community members to share their stories about experiences with Alzheimer’s disease
  7. To reduce stigma related to the disease and support a community role in helping those families that are facing this disease 109

 

Next, focus on the specific rationales that demonstrate these benefits. You don’t have to invent anything new; you already have the content in your grant applications and other funding requests; the overarching benefits; and the evaluation results that demonstrate your impact.

Ensure that your messages are compelling:

Program Example: Public Awareness Message

EngAGE: The Art of Active Aging sponsors a weekly one-hour radio show on the local Pacifica Network station. The organization describes the program this way:

Beamed from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, Experience Talks is a live radio program that shares the experience of dynamic baby boomers and beyond in a way that communicates across generations.

Our program has changed over the two years we’ve been on the air, and so has our name. You may know us as Good for Life. Our tag line has also changed—from The Voice of Southern California’s Seniors, to The Voice of the 2nd 50 Years, to Experience Talks.

We’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the age of our guests that unites them, but their ability to learn from and pass on experience. Experience in the hands of people like Patagonia founder, Yvonne Chouinard, actor Ed Asner, State Senator Sheil Kuehl, and playwright John Patrick Shanley leads to reflection, perspective, and—dare we say—wisdom.

In a time when there is so much emphasis on the ephemeral—on passing trends, youth, and novelty—we feel inclined to give a voice to those who’ve seen a few things, to discuss the subjects that make a difference to how we view ourselves and our world, and perhaps to discover the things that endure.

We know that age isn’t necessarily an indicator of wisdom, but it’s the baby boomers and those beyond who—like it or not—are now our village elders. In seeking out what the best of them have to say, we hope to give you, the listener, something to reflect on, to smile about, to ponder, and to share with the people in your lives.

Sometimes the tag line says it all. So, we’re no longer Good for Life —we’re now simply Experience Talks. 111

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Appendix 3:
Kairos Dance Theatre Support Letters (1) (2)