by Nicole Bruce

If you’ve ever thought about working behind-the-scenes or in the eye of the camera as the host of a television show, one group of seniors in Highland Park proves that it’s never too late to start. CJE is always looking for innovative ways to engage with members of the community. This is one of them. How we came to work closely with a team of seniors passionate about challenging themselves through television production, coordinating with their fellow community members, and learning something new each month about CJE in the process is another story.

As an organization that values lifelong learning for older adults, building a relationship with a team of seniors affiliated with the Highland Park Senior Center to produce a television program through the Highland Park Public Access Center is a fitting collaboration. CJE began working with the Highland Park Senior TV Production Team (known as Highland Park Senior Producers) in January 2012 to produce monthly half-hour programs. Each features a different program or service area, with our staff and Board members serving as guest experts in the field of aging.
The Producers (average age mid-70s) highlight CJE’s various program areas to viewers in the surrounding communities. Shows have covered Center for Healthy
Living programs like Total Memory Workout, How to Use Your iPadTM and Art in the Moment; our award-winning Culture BusTM program; nationally recognized topics in research, as well as health issues such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.

“I learn more about all the directions CJE has gone with each show we produce. I’ve learned the different things that you do, and the people who do the work.
You’ve grown tremendously,” said Greta DeBofsky, a show host.

The show not only enables us to “broadcast” our healthy aging philosophy, it provides easily understood educational information on wellness, making the show a truly powerful resource for viewers in the community. “CJE’s program is one of the more informational shows we air that also provides viewers with a tool people are watching.” said Victor Walter, Highland Park Public Access Coordinator.

CJE has benefited from the exchange as well. The process continues to reinforce our indefatigable drive to encourage older adults in the community to remain active while also spreading the word about our available resources.

“The Senior Producers are passionately driven. There are people out there of the same age who think their life is done when it’s really not. They are proof that you can take part in something like our show for CJE and still learn new things,” said Walter. “There are even Senior Producers who are not as mobile, but they come in to do the work because they find personal value in it. They might not be able to move set pieces around, but they can control the audio board to take part in the process and make the show happen. It does take a team effort to create the show, so this is a place where they can take on a role that is a meaningful despite any disability. It’s nice to know that they get satisfaction from it as well.” 

 Photo captions: The Control Room, with Senior Producer Gilda Lesser and Ken Winiarski.