AgingIntergenerationalOpinion

South by South Lawn? Why Not A Gerontologist?

SXSL Entry for Judi Bonilla

Friday morning my friend and Black Baby Boomer Expert  Patricia A. Patton about President Obama’s White House festival South by South Lawn. Seems like an opportunity for us creative thinkers to share how we believe America can move forward together. Therefore an opportunity an opportunity to explore the topic of aging as America’s demographics shift. So, why not me, the first gerontologist to speak at SXSWedu? As a result I penned a self nomination and now I share it with you!

My South by South Lawn (SXSL) Application

My name is Judi Bonilla and I work with older adults as a gerontologist and social entrepreneur in San Diego, California. I am self-nominating for the interactive part of South by South Lawn (SXSL) and here are a few reasons why!

SXSL Entry for Judi Bonilla

It Started at SXSWedu

This year I was the first gerontologist selected to speak to educators at SXSWedu. In my talk, “Aging: The Opportunity For Continuing Education” I asked, “What if you lived to be age 120?” I then explained to educators they might reach that age. I also shared so will many of their students. Their work in classrooms today is setting the foundation for tomorrow’s lifelong learners. Imagine the opportunity one might have with ten decades of education? Imagine the closed-doors without lifelong learning? As I ended my talk I asked educators to teach for today with tomorrow in mind. It was music to my ears when a few days later Mrs. Obama continued the conversation about aging and said, “I plan to go into my 60s blazing. Blazing!” Those words are what every gerontologist longs to hear.

Our Communities are Changing

Another reason is my work in gerontology across the lifespan. I mentor Millennials and also many of The Silent Generation. Yes, age 20 to 91 is in my wheelhouse. I know about the needs of the 74.9 million aging Baby Boomers and concerns of the 75.4 million Millennials. As members of multi generational families they both need community solutions to handle the issues of civic engagement, health, housing, social participation, and transportation. Whether I’m mentoring a 21-year-old, Iraqui refugee, pre-dental student at San Diego State University on the power of networking for his career. Or coaching a 78-year-old, to use public transportation as they decrease driving, so they can maintain their freedom and mobility. I understand how closely generations can work together.

If selected to speak at SXSL my goal is to change the conversation about aging by inspiring others. Aging is not only for older adults it is about six generations connecting, working together, and positively influencing their communities across the country.

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