The 2023 YES FEST, an annual community celebration at Yesler Terrace Park, was held on Friday, July 28. I was able to come out and support Age Friendly Seattle, with which I’ve worked as a summer intern. I distributed information about Age Friendly Seattle and Aging and Disability Services (ADS), the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County. I handed out pamphlets about Gold Cards, which provide discounts for older adults (aged 65+) at certain local businesses in the greater Seattle area. Many people were pleased to find out about this resource and quickly passed the information on to older friends and family.
To overcome language barriers and ensure inclusivity, Age Friendly Seattle handouts were published in multiple languages. Our goal was to ensure all attendees who qualified by age could benefit from this amazing resource.
Although ADS primarily focuses more on older people, it is crucial that younger generations appreciate the value of aging. As part of my community outreach efforts, I organized and hosted a Spin the Wheel Trivia game for the youth who visited the ADS table, utilizing intergenerational questions about aging. This was a fun and collaborative way to raise awareness among youth about the older adults in their families and communities.
I noticed that many children found the game intriguing and enjoyed the challenge of answering questions related to the older adults in their lives. To attract more people to our table, the Age Friendly Seattle intern team made a community announcement about who we are and what our organization does.
YES FEST offered me the opportunity to learn about local businesses in Seattle, indulge in delicious food, enjoy music, and more. The event fosters an inclusive environment where everyone can celebrate and share their culture freely with one another, whether it is through food, music, dance, or conversation.
I had the opportunity to witness people in the community come together and dance to East African and Vietnamese music. Guests were also able to taste a variety of traditional dishes, including Vietnamese Sandwiches, Injera, Boba Tea, and Horchata. I observed a group of East African elders sitting in a circle and drinking traditional Ethiopian coffee, an act that symbolizes friendship, respect, and great hospitality within Ethiopian culture. Observing the connection and unity between different cultures was truly heartwarming.
YES FEST was a great opportunity to connect to the community and an unforgettable experience. Witnessing such a large gathering of amazing individuals celebrating culture and positivity was truly inspiring.
Contributor Mi’Ainjel (my-angel) Calhoun is an intern with Age Friendly Seattle. Currently a junior at Puyallup High School, Mi’Ainjel had planned to study biology and chemistry in college and then become a dentist. After taking this internship, Mi’Ainjel has expressed interest in a career in law and local government.
Photos at top courtesy of Age Friendly Seattle. At center are (left to right) contributor Mi’Ainjel Calhoun, college intern Fathima Garcia, and Age Friendly Seattle Coordinator Eldad Mekuria.