Members of the Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee (SAGA) would like to extend our gratitude to the Ahwatukee Foothills community for making our Inaugural Symposium on Nov. 3 a tremendous success. Over 175 seniors, caregivers, industry experts, vendors and volunteers attended SAGA Symposium 2012, a first-time educational forum on important local resources hosted by the Pecos Community Center.

The event featured moving keynote addresses from Karen and Sen. John McComish and Billy Thrall, executive director of CityServe Arizona. Kim DeVoss with Edward Jones offered her beautiful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” and Dave Zorb, popular pastor of Mountain View Lutheran Church, provided an inspiring invocation. Guest host, Kelly L. Madison, president of the Meningitis Foundation and broadcaster, helped entertain the audience comprised of all ages and backgrounds.

According to Jana Potash of Hospice of the Valley and chair of the first-time event, “The concept of the Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee (SAGA) came out of a greater movement in our community to make it an even better place to live for the seniors among us. This event was made possible by a strong and committed group of community organizations, nonprofits, government, small businesses and private citizens. We wanted not to entertain — but engage — by sharing much needed information with those who need it the most.”

Linda Jochim, community outreach director for the Y OPAS program and one of the founding SAGA members adds, “This event was developed because we’ve seen enormous growth in the senior population in Ahwatukee. Adults over 65 now represent 9 percent of our residents — an enormous 45 percent increase since 2000.” As a public service measure, the symposium also introduced the new MedStats program — an innovative medication tracking system for use by first responders.

The extensive educational program by area experts included information on senior living options, Medicare 101, veteran benefits, mobile health care, and other critical topics pertinent to older adults and caregivers. The free ($10 suggested donation) all-day event also included breakfast, lunch, exhibitors on senior services and raffle prizes.

The all-volunteer committee wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the Ahwatukee Foothills News for their generous coverage of the symposium and to our local sponsors: The Ahwatukee Board of Management, Ahwatukee Country Club, Ahwatukee Recreation Center, Christian Companion Senior Care, city of Phoenix Human Services Department, ComForcare Senior Services, Global Eye Investigations, Hospice of the Valley, and La Estancia Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Thanks also to Bashas’, Schmitt Graphics, Something Sweet, The UPS Store (Ahwatukee) and the Y OPAS Outreach Programs for their in-kind donations and support.

SAGA Symposium 2012 was orchestrated by a small all-volunteer committee with special assistance by the LEGO League, a group of students of Kyrene Altadeña Middle School under the direction of Diane Griesar, and energetic volunteers from the Mountain Park Senior Living community and Pecos Senior Center.

The Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee is a coalition of local businesses, faith-based groups, representatives of organizations and individuals serving the community in support of their mission to advocate for seniors through service, education and support.

For more information, or to donate, please contact Gregg Powell of Christian Companion Senior Care at (480) 250-2090.

SAGA Symposium 2012 Committee

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