In the late 1970s, Theodora G. Jackson, a Queens resident, used a foundation grant to establish the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults. That program became a national model for developing comprehensive systems of services. “We acted as coordinator to bring together all of the health, human, and educational services in our community,” she said. “This hadn’t happened at the grassroots level yet; we were among the first.” Jackson served as executive director of the agency until 1980, when she was appointed deputy director of the New York State Office for the Aging. She left government service in 1991 and served as a consultant on a variety of aging and educational programs. She was also asked to serve as a New York Foundation trustee.

“I’m very interested in diversity,” she said, adding that her grandfather had been born a slave. “I’m fascinated by the fact that every individual is unique, and I enjoy the differences. I remember when I was at the state offices and had a managers’ meeting. The tendency was to try to have them come to an agreement right away. But I would always encourage the people who thought differently to speak. We have one of the most diverse populations, and we have never made good use of our diversity. The focus has been on what makes us all the same instead of what makes us unique, so we lose so much of what America could be.”

In the late 1970s, Theodora G. Jackson, a Queens resident, used a foundation grant to establish the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults. That program became a national model for developing comprehensive systems of services. “We acted as coordinator to bring together all of the health, human, and educational services in our community,” she said. “This hadn’t happened at the grassroots level yet; we were among the first.” Jackson served as executive director of the agency until 1980, when she was appointed deputy director of the New York State Office for the Aging. She left government service in 1991 and served as a consultant on a variety of aging and educational programs. She was also asked to serve as a New York Foundation trustee.

Loading...