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Every Age Counts!

You may be surprised to learn that poetry is all around us. Have you sung a song? Listened to a jingle? Read a greeting card? Recited a nursery rhyme? If so, you’ve experienced poetry!

Have you been told you’re either too young or too old to do an activity, share your ideas, be part of a team or lead a group? If so, you’ve experienced ageism, discrimination based solely on your age.

The Seniors’ Council of Douglas County with its partners, Changing the Narrative, the Douglas County School District and Douglas County Libraries, combined these two experiences in a unique, multigenerational poetry contest to raise awareness about ageism and how it negatively affects everyone in our community. The contest ran from August 1-September 15, 2021 and was open to residents of Douglas County, Colorado.

Every Age Counts poetsCongratulations to our winners! Read their poems in the Every Age Counts! poetry booklet.

Age 10 and under
“My GG”, Helen Ostrowski

Age 14-17
“The Wisdom of Age”, Nic Hussey (First Place)
“Seventeen Today, Eighteen Tomorrow”, Rebecca Hensley (Second Place)

Age 18-22
“What Age?”, Montana Moore

Age 23-55
“Why Isn’t Age Just a Number?”, Gina Popolizio (First Place)
“Motivation in Motion”, Jolene Croall (Second Place)

Age 56+
“To the Friends I Hope to Meet”, Carol Reed (First Place)
“The Wrinkle of My Skin”, Ron Saatjian (Second Place)

Our sincere gratitude as well to our dedicated and passionate judges:

Lilian Armijo (Douglas County School District)
Ryan Backer (OldSchool Ageism Clearinghouse)
Suzanne LaRue (Recently retired from Douglas County Libraries)
Anselma Zamora (Douglas County School District)

And to our generous donors, who helped us create gift bags for the winners: Tattered Cover Bookstore, Castle Rock Senior Activity Center, Home Care Assistance, Nymbl Science, Patients Choice, Donna Foerster, Valerie Robson, and Vanessa Githinji.

You can also read more about the ceremony on our blog.

Why an anti-ageist poetry campaign?

We know that ageism is both prevalent and harmful. Many studies show that ageism has negative effects on our health and financial security, and a recent survey showed that 82% of people age 50-80 experience ageism in their everyday lives. We even inflict these ideas on ourselves because we’ve internalized the ageism that surrounds us.

It’s a serious topic, but there are lots of ways we can change people’s minds, including our artistic endeavors. Poetry is one way to express our ideas and tell new stories. When we tell a different story, new ideas can spread and become a the new normal. We were excited to invite people to use their creativity to tell a new story that celebrates age and spreads the idea that everyone has something to contribute, no matter their age.

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