Legacy is a tricky thing — too tricky, certainly, to adequately summarize in a couple hundred words or less.
The same might hold true for the Elders of Centre County, a new association comprised of a small governing council and a pool of associate members happy to pitch in for the cause.
In this instant, “cause” is something of a fluid concept, ebbing and flowing based on the needs of the community and where the Elders feel that their experience, guidance and connections can be put to the most productive use.
We’re not proactive. We’re kind of reactive to what you need and here we are.
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Issues hinging on diversity, community building or intergroup relations are all fair game, as are any number of other topics that could benefit from a seasoned hand on the wheel.
“We’re not proactive. We’re kind of reactive to what you need and here we are,” said Charles Dumas, a professor emeritus at Penn State.
Once they get there, feel free to ask them to mentor, mediate or otherwise advise as deemed appropriate.
Dumas modeled the ECC after The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
His goal is for the association to remain autonomous, avoiding the pitfalls of becoming too closely intertwined with any one group or subject matter.
“I think that we can serve as kind of a bridge to the community,” Dumas said.
Donna King is the convener of the ECC — and the pastor at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bellefonte.
It makes it a lot more clear to you what your role is — to pass the torch.
At 60 years old, she is the council’s youngest member and thusly can appreciate, perhaps better than anyone, the value of age.
When King taught lessons on civil rights or the Underground Railroad at Penn State, she invited residents from Foxdale Village Retirement Community to come and share their stories.
“That got me to know the importance of the connections, of the intergenerational dialogues we have,” King said.
As her own mentors have begun to recede into history, King is at peace, both with all that she’s learned and what her own peers and colleagues owe the next generation.
“It makes it a lot more clear to you what your role is — to pass the torch,” King said.