Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Moving from Diversity to Inclusion
We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on ElderSource in Jacksonville, Florida for its Moving from Diversity to Inclusion program, winner in the Diversity and Cultural Competency category.
Diversity had always been top of mind for ElderSource staff, but the agency hadn't made concrete steps to become truly inclusive until after it conducted a self-assessment. After reviewing the organization, staff at ElderSource decided to implement changes that would bring about inclusion, by performing staff training, changing the ways it handled staff and volunteer recruitment, as well as revamping outreach and partnership development to become as inclusive as possible. ElderSource also made several accessibility upgrades such as installing automatic door openers that could be used by people with disabilities visiting the ElderSource office.
ElderSource embarked on a mission to become more inclusive when staff noticed the growing diversity of its northeast Florida community. The team also wanted to make sure they were inclusive to better serve people with disabilities. In order to be reflective of its community, ElderSource launched the Moving from Diversity to Inclusion program.
The emphasis for ElderSource was not just on acknowledging diversity but making it an organizational imperative to be inclusive. As one member of the team put it, “diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”
ElderSource staff note that it is important for agencies to step up to the plate and implement inclusivity programs because, in addition to serving the community, it helps make the agency a better employer.
Since the program was implemented, ElderSource staff took a survey to get a better idea of how the program was going and to provide suggestions for improvement. ElderSource also increased hiring efforts and ensured that it conducted an annual diversity training. Above all, the team at ElderSource was able to find that diversity made it better, which will continue to allow it to serve their community in the best ways.
For more information about ElderSource, contact Linda Levin, CEO of ElderSource at linda.levin@myElderSource.org.
To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community! Now is also the time to nominate one of your agency's programs to win a 2019 AIA Award, so review the guidelines and consider submitting!