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From the Livable Communities Intern: an Introduction

AARP - Iowa

Hi, my name is Claire and I began my internship at the AARP Iowa office two weeks ago. I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa then left the state to pursue college and a career. I worked six years as a graphic designer in a variety of industries, but felt as though I needed to switch gears in order to better benefit society through my work. I returned to Iowa for school and for my family, but also because I love the people here and feel a strong sense of community. I am one semester shy of finishing a joint master’s degree in urban planning and public health at the University of Iowa. My interest is in the intersection of community health and city planning, particularly on impacts to aging adults.

I find my marketing and design background lends itself to the promotion of community-based programs. This summer, I am working on various components of the Greater Des Moines Age-Friendly City initiative, including the development of a social media campaign and promotional pieces. My studies at the University of Iowa focus on behavior change using modifications to the built environment, and I anticipate seeing my research in practice this summer through the initiative’s walking audits and outreach of age-friendly community development.

My interest in aging stems from my first and best friend, my grandma, Helen Richmond (pictured above). I grew up living two hours away from her, but we saw each other at least once a month and for one whole week every summer. I admire my grandma for her strong spirit, generosity, and focus on friendship. She taught me to see the best in people, as well as the value of an afternoon with a good book.

I am thrilled to be in Des Moines through August--so many of my favorite people already live here. My apartment overlooks downtown and my bicycle commute contains far less hills than it did in Iowa City. I plan to use this blog to share my adventures exploring and getting to know the community. I am looking for events to attend and ways in which I can get involved in community programming that impacts people of all ages. I hope you will check-in periodically and please send me suggestions of ways I can make the most of my time here this summer. Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll be back next week!

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