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Conference Session 2: Community Matters: Strengthening Social Ties
Friday, October 11, 2024, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM PDT
Category: Conferences

Community Matters: Strengthening Social Ties  

Strengthening Social Support Strategies for Older Adults in Rural Communities


  • Keren Brown Wilson, PhD (Founder and Board Chair, AGE+, and Founder and CEO, Jessie F. Richardson Foundation)


This presentation will describe a volunteer care network that has been established in communities in rural Oregon to get and/or keep older adults socially engaged. Circles of Care pairs older Oregonians with local volunteers to receive assistance with everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping and light chores, as well as social calls. Older adults have opportunities to contribute their talents as well. The session describes how volunteers are recruited and supported. A second part of the presentation will include a description of ways in which residents of two recently opened affordable rural housing developments are being encouraged to engage socially with each other and their community.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand why and how the Circles of Care program was established and what lessons have been learned in the process. Attendees will be able to ask specific questions about how to organize their own local support system.
  • Hear how residents of two recently built affordable housing developments in rural Oregon are becoming socially engaged with each other and their community and be able to apply the strategies used in Circles of Care to support each other.

Intergenerational Mentoring Programming: Building Social Connections


  • Jill Juris, PhD (Appalachian State University, Associate Professor, Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education
  • Shannon Jarrott, PhD (The Ohio State University, Professor, College of Social Work)


This presentation will describe the BRIDGE2Health intergenerational mentoring program. Presenters will provide examples of Best Practices for intergenerational programming and an evaluation approach for considering social connections within an intergenerational context.

Learning Objectives:

  • After attending this presentation, participants will be able to discuss how they could use an intergenerational lens in their program offerings.
  • After attending this presentation, participants will have tools and resources to enhance or create intergenerational programs in their communities.

Standing with Oregon Seniors: Lines for Life Senior Loneliness Line


  • Yvette Garza, LPC (Lines for Life Crisis Lines Clinical Assistant Director
  • Hannah Gregorio Zellmer, MPH, MSW, CSWA (Lines for Life Senior Connections Coordinator)


This presentation will cover the Senior Loneliness Line Service that Lines for Life offers to provide support to Oregon seniors.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn more about the Senior Loneliness Line and how seniors can access it. 
  • Have a better understanding on some of the different resources available for Oregon seniors.

Continuing Education Credits

Please check back soon for updates. 

This is the second of four sessions of OGA's 2024 virtual conference. You can register for individual sessions or, at a discount, for the entire conference series. For an overview of all sessions, please visit the conference page.

Register here!

 Keren Brown Wilson, PhD, has a career that spans a broad range of academic and professional activities in aging and long-term care, including teaching, research, program design and implementation. She is widely known as the architect of the "Oregon Model" of assisted living and for her work with affordable housing and services. Currently she serves as CEO and Board Chair of the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation (JFRF) and Founder and Board Chair of the Oregon-focused public charity AGE+. Both organizations' focus is on underserved older adults, typically in rural communities. AGE + currently has initiatives focused on affordable housing and services, grandparents raising grandchildren, Circles of Care (a volunteer services program), a statewide education and awareness program around COVID, and community conversations intended to inform the development of a Comprehensive Cross-Sector State Plan for Aging and Living in Oregon. She has published professionally and received numerous awards for her work.


Jill Juris, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair of Recreation Management and Physical Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Her research focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating intergenerational community-based programs related to health outcomes. She is the Evaluator for the USDA/CYFAR BRIDGE2Health project that aims to improve teens’ and older adults’ life skills, resilience, and social connections through shared mentoring. She is also the Co-PI for an RRF Foundation for Aging study examining the implementation of an intergenerational technology program in higher education.


Shannon Jarrott, PhD, is a Professor of Social Work at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on intergenerational community building strategies. Trained as a gerontologist, Dr. Jarrott has studied community-based services, therapeutic programming, and research strategies involving a wide range of youth and older adults possessing diverse strengths and needs, such as chronic disease and disability. Dr. Jarrott collaborates extensively with students, practitioners, and researchers across diverse disciplines. She has contributed to the United Nations, NIH, USDA, and international efforts to promote developmental theory, research, and practice.


Yvette Garza, LPC, serves as one of the Clinical Assistant Director of Crisis Lines at Lines for Life. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), she is deeply committed to mental health, especially in providing accessible care for marginalized communities. She collaborates closely with state partners, notably with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), to ensure our Senior Loneliness Line (SLL) delivers exceptional service to Oregon seniors. She is proud to collaborate with such an important service such as the Lines for Life’s Senior Loneliness Line, which is a low-barrier service that makes it easy for individuals who might be hesitant to engage in formal treatment to start building trust with a compassionate team of care providers working within a strength-based, person-centered model. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality moments with her family, friends, and pets.

Hannah Gregorio-Zellmer, MPH, MSW, CSWA, has been the Senior Connections Coordinator at Lines for Life with the Senior Loneliness Line since 2022. She has implemented multiple programs including a pilot intervention modality utilizing a telephonic platform in conjunction with Oregon Health Authority and Pacific University while in this role. She has presented to various audiences on the importance of forming and maintaining connections to change the course of loneliness for seniors. Hannah is not only passionate about Oregonians and our local seniors, but also in ensuring access to quality services across the spectrum of health and wellness. As such, she is pursuing her licensure as a LCSW and started her own private practice, Healing Acres Therapy LLC, to enable her to engage with, support and connect with fellow Oregonians.

 Supporting Sponsors for this session: 


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