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Wider Horizons Service

WHYY is in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of both older people and the communities in which they live — turning the second half of life into a time of personal and social renewal.


WHYY Wider Horizons addresses the needs and interests of the population approaching and in the second half of life — baby boomers planning their retirement or new career, retirees and active elders, children of aging parents and the homebound. Its success lies in its collaborations, most importantly: Coming of Age partnership with the Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, AARP-PA and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania; and Caring Community, a volunteer coalition of more than 100 local civic and healthcare organizations convened by Wider Horizons who collaborate with WHYY on content development, resources and outreach around issues related to caregiving, chronic illness and end-of life. In FY 2006, these partnerships produced important television programming and a Web site for baby boomers. In addition, Wider Horizons achieved another milestone by launching a new digital channel.


Wider Horizons continues the 'Circle'
Wider Horizons and its Caring Community coalition received a second grant from Sound Partners for Community Health, a national program of the Benton Foundation, funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was matched by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Building upon its award-winning Circle of Love series, WHYY produced Circle of Care: The Arts in Medicine in March 2006, a documentary that explores how the creative arts are used to aid communication in healing and healthcare. The half-hour film visits hospitals, rehabilitation centers and adult residential communities throughout the region to intimately witness the process of expressing and communicating through music, dance, painting, theater and poetry.


The documentary was followed by a discussion broadcast live with leading local experts, documentary subjects and a studio audience on the role of arts and humanities in medicine. Viewers joined the conversation by e-mailing their questions and comments during the program.


Wider Horizons provides forum for discussion
Since its inception, WHYY Wider Horizons has been a community convener, bringing citizens together to discuss issues relevant to their lives. In partnership with Coming of Age, WHYY hosted the second season of BOOMERVISION!, a lecture/community dialogue series aimed at baby boomers. The programs, which were taped for digital broadcast, focused on "What Boomers Want" and included author Ellen Freudenheim on "Good Work"; neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D. on "Brain Health"; poet and activist Sonia Sanchez on "A Creative Legacy"; and WHYY's Dr. Dan Gottlieb on "Meaningful Relationships."


WHYY and Caring Community hosted their 6th Annual Wider Horizons Forum. The all-day event focused on "Pain Management at the End of Life," with discussions about the dimensions of suffering and approaches to managing pain. The forum was webcast live and included the Hospice Foundation of America's annual Living with Grief teleconference.


Wider Horizons also convened leaders in healthcare, the insurance industry, government and patient advocacy for a "Community Leadership Summit on Healthcare." The group identified pressing issues facing health and healthcare in the region, and sought solutions through collaboration and partnership with WHYY. Insights from the Summit will guide WHYY's development of future programming and outreach around health issues.


Wider Horizons in the digital age
WHYY Wider Horizons launched a digital channel in June, 2006, devoted to programming of interest to people 50+. Carried on Comcast Channel 242 and over digital receivers at 12.3, the WHYY Wider Horizons digital channel provides programs and information for baby boomers and others who seek engagement and ideas for living creatively. Weekdays begin with a block of news and public affairs programming, including WHYY Delaware Tonight and Charlie Rose. Viewers can tune to the live broadcast of Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane on weekdays, and Voices in the Family with Dr. Dan Gottlieb on Mondays.


The regional collaborative Coming of Age launched a best-in-class online resource, ComingofAge.org, on November 1, 2005, offering one portal where users can search through thousands of volunteer and learning opportunities, as well as access hundreds of local career, entertainment and life-planning resources. The site covers topics important to people age 50+, and offers inspiring transition stories about local people who are active in their communities. WHYY produced a series of video profiles as the initiative's public awareness campaign to inspire viewers to become engaged in their communities and their own creativity. Completing a three-year demonstration funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, WHYY and its partners see Coming of Age as a model that could be replicated in other markets.


Broadening its 'Horizons'
WHYY and Caring Community were one of 35 coalitions around the country to receive funding for outreach around Remaking American Medicine, a four-part PBS series about quality improvements in healthcare to air on WHYY-TV in October 2006. WHYY's outreach plans include a national public radio documentary, a town-hall meeting and a short television piece, which will focus on the University of Pennsylvania Medical School's LEAPP program as an example of innovation in medical education.


Wider Horizons is also expanding its impact in the First State by developing a Coming of Age initiative in Delaware. Interested individuals and organizations are working with WHYY to develop a statewide project to engage baby boomers and retirees in volunteerism and lifelong learning.