'Be the Difference'

November 17, 2016—On Sunday, October 30, the attendees at the Annual Meeting & EXPO of LeadingAge were greeted by an 8-foot-high poster of Lathrop resident Barbara Walvoord as an example of someone who embodied the theme of the gathering: “Be The Difference.”

Barbara Walvoord, Ph.D., is a resident of the Lathrop Communities, a Kendal affiliate in Easthampton and Northampton, Massachusetts, and is Chair of Lathrop’s Land Conservation Committee. “After retiring as a college English teacher, I moved at age 71 to the Lathrop retirement community and found a new passion—land conservation and native habitat restoration,” Barbara says. “I founded and am leading what is now a 23-member resident Land Conservation Committee at Lathrop, which has a long list of successful actions to protect our environment.”

Barbara Walvoord
Barbara Walvoord

LeadingAge is an association of over 6,000 not-for-profit “retirement” communities that is “Dedicated to Making America a Better Place to Grow Old.” Formerly known as AAHSA (American Association of Housing and Services for the Aged), the organization changed its name in 2010 in order to better reflect its mission and dynamic evolution.

This year, the Annual Meeting was held in Indianapolis, and over the summer LeadingAge solicited nominations from its membership of residents who were actively “Being the Difference” in their communities. Thom Wright, Executive Director of Lathrop Communities, nominated Barbara and submitted an accounting of all that the Land Conservation Committee had accomplished under her inspiration and leadership.

In late September, Thom received an email that read “Congratulations, your nominee has been selected to appear on our ‘Be The Difference’ Celebration Board at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO. Each board is 3 1/2 feet wide by 8 feet high.” The boards were located at various areas around the convention.

Posted by Larry Elveru