About Blogger Kathy Smith
Welcome to this Creative Age blog. These pages and posts may interest those who continue to strive to realize their full potential in the second half of life.
My name is Kathy Smith. Since childhood, I’ve been compelled by curiosity to explore a more creative path. That curiosity led me to music, art, media and marketing and I had a very fulfilling primary career. My purpose at this time of my life is to make a positive and creative social impact with a small but mighty network of peers and colleagues.
There was a time when I belonged to many professional associations. Over the years, I have come to realize a smaller network of community catalysts is better. The relationships are almost always more fulfilling, fun and sometimes more productive. With the support of the municipality, volunteers and local residents, we were able to launch a Creative Age Art Studio in the Municipality of Thames Centre and we operate our outreach programs from that space.
But here’s the back story.
Twelve years ago, I was approaching a comfortable “early retirement” in London Ontario Canada when my life presented an unexpected surprise and shortly thereafter, I experienced a later-life divorce. My retirement savings plummeted through the following global economic melt down. I realized there were others like me who needed or wanted guidance and mentoring to remain engaged with the community during this difficult life transition of starting over. Author Judith Viorst said mid life can be a time of necessary losses – work, divorce, identity, empty nest, selling the family home, death of elderly parents or spouse. It can be a time of letting go. It can also be a time when many are vulnerable to situational or prolonged depression.
Some older adults need additional income as they navigate a new life course past the traditional age of retirement, The need to or want to subsidize fixed retirement earnings to improve overall quality of life. Sometimes, a very small income of $200 a month can mean the difference between fresh or canned fruit and vegetables.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – “….women on their own are the poorest of the poor, especially women who have raised children in lone-parent families. They are almost five times more likely to be poor than those in two-parent families. Yet their plight has been virtually ignored by the policy-makers. Older women on their own are also13 times more likely to be poor than seniors living in families, with more than 14% of them having had low incomes in 2007. That these two groups of women had such high rates of poverty, at a time when poverty rates for others had dropped to relatively low levels, must surely be a cause for serious concern.” Women’s Poverty in the Recession.
Through my life experience and research, I identified and created a new meaning and purpose for my own late career transition. With the support of the the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and Over55 London, we applied for a grant to embark on a 3 year community consultation project to determine the needs and interests of older adults 55+ from all walks of life. This included low income and isolated seniors. The project resulted in clear understanding of resources available and gaps in services. It was during that time that I discovered new ideas such as Encore Careers, Retirement Transition Networks and Creative Aging.
I found it was helpful to develop presentations and peer support programs to help those in late career and later life transitions. My blog Creative Age Retirement Planning Workshops and Transition Resources was subsequently created for mid and low income older adults who want to learn and connect. Creative Age Retirement Workshops and Programs are now offered to older adults where they live, through the London Public Library System.
I have a great new community of interesting men and women with whom I can dine, discuss books, go hiking, make art, play music, see movies, explore Southwestern Ontario, attend lectures or panel discussions, and above all, be part of this peer support group for those in mid and later life transitions. Blogging provides another learning opportunity. It was started for creative self-expression but I’m happy to share information about transitions, the good work of friends, peers and creative colleagues.
After the financial crisis of 2007-08, Kathy Smith started a new career by inspiring others to become empowered to fully realize their potential in the second half of life.
Kathy was named to the Mayor’s Honour Roll in London Ontario. She received an Adult Educator Recognition from the London Council for Adult Education in 2015. In 2016 she received the Ontario Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell. Recently Kathy was named to the 2019 Honour Roll of London North Centre Peter Fragiskatos, Liberal MP.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org