Like many baby sisters, Rosalind “Roz” Alston looked up to her big brother. So much so that when it was time to go off to college, the Columbia, Tennessee native followed in her brother’s footsteps and studied computer programming. The training prepared her for a successful career of 15 years in the industry until a series of layoffs forced her to change course. She learned that Michael Hancock, then-Councilman of District 11, was looking for a new scheduler. It turns out Roz was “the one.” She continued to work with Hancock at the Council office and through two of his terms as Mayor until she retired last year.
A Public Servant at Heart
“I am a public servant at heart,” Roz says. “Of all the jobs I’ve had, working with the City allowed me to serve community residents, organizations, and local leaders throughout those years.”
During her time with the City and County of Denver, Roz helped innovate “Denver Days,” a summer program that encourages neighbors to get to know each other through a series of block parties, picnics, and service projects. She also helped develop the District 11 Annual “District Day,” a day spent in celebration of district communities through food, entertainment, and vendors. She recalls of her team, “We always felt proud that we were not only able to bring a lot of different people of all ages together, but we were able to create or come up with some fantastic projects and programs that still stand today.”
Unofficial Service to the Community
A Park Hill resident, Roz has also involved herself in volunteer and community work outside of the office. “I truly enjoyed being an after-school tutor to elementary school children, helping them with their homework. I found that to be very rewarding, especially since I do not have children of my own,” she says.
Both Roz and her husband, Wil, are big family people. Wil is a musician and currently directs Denver’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. “I always enjoy being around my older family members to get a better understanding of not only where they came from and what they went through, but it gives me a better idea of why I am the way I am,” Roz shares. “Even now, we have one of our nieces is living with us while she attends college here in Colorado. We are really enjoying learning more about this ‘strange’ generation, as well as helping to shape her development as a young woman.”
Giving and Taking Lessons
As well as taking lessons from others in her family, Roz hopes and believes that she has given some herself. “I think as I age, my family members get my sense of faith and not giving up, as I have faced and am still facing many health challenges.”
In everything, Roz believes in giving back as much as you receive and living life by your own playbook, no matter your age. “Become a part of your community, whatever that means to you—just do it,” Roz says. “And never, never be afraid to give your two cents. You, as an older adult, have life experiences that could be of value to someone. And finally, remember to laugh and love more—doing so will make life a whole lot easier and better!”
Angelle Fouther and Daryn Fouther
Read more about other older adults who are making a difference.