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DHS offers leadership academy for advocates of elderly

The state Department of Human Services is forming the Oklahoma Aging Advocacy Leadership Academy, a training opportunity for advocates of senior.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: December 25, 2011

Applications are available for the 15th annual Oklahoma Aging Advocacy Leadership Academy, a free program that helps develop leaders dedicated to serving Oklahoma's older population.

Students learn about everything from negotiations to navigating state agencies, Program Director Judy Leitner said. Participants also pick a subject to delve into individually.

“If they just go back and help their own families, that can be a wonderful thing,” Leitner said. “But some pretty amazing programs have come about because of it.”

For example, she said, a group of volunteers have helped seniors receive free or low-cost glasses and dentures in northeast Oklahoma. A participant this year is working to help low-income veterans receive microloans from other veterans for deposits at assisted living facilities.

The 10 class sessions take place on Friday evenings and Saturdays throughout the year at the Department of Human Services Aging Services Division office, 2401 NW 23, Suite 40. The first class session is set to begin in February.

The program is free, mileage is paid, and accommodations, food and materials are provided. The academy is sponsored by DHS and the Choctaw Nation.

A dozen participants will be selected statewide, Leitner said. The academy is open to all ages and backgrounds. Past participants have included nonprofit workers, state workers, retirees and college students, she said.

For an application, call Leitner at 752-1257or DHS at 521-2281. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.