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Mayor Allen Joines and the city of Winston-Salem are one of just five recipients in the southeastern United States of a 2006 Outstanding Community Service Award from the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Seniors Ambassador Program Award given to Mayor JoinesThe award honors the Downtown Ambassadors program, initiated by Joines and coordinated by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership. Under the program, trained senior citizens wearing green and white sashes serve as ambassadors to assist other seniors at sponsored downtown events, such as Rock the Block and the summer music program.

Joines proposed the program after a subcommittee of the Forsyth Aging Services Committee reported that many senior citizens do not feel safe coming downtown. The ambassador’s program started in May and to date 30 senior citizens have been trained. At downtown events, the ambassadors work in shifts of four to answer questions and assist senior citizens. Senior citizens who express concern for their safety are escorted to their car or destination.

The association initiated the Outstanding Service Awards in 2000 to honor individuals and organizations that make a "positive contribution to the lives of older adults." The association represents 97 area agencies on aging in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

The award was announced Oct. 2 in Orlando, Fla., during the association’s annual conference.

Joines and the city were nominated by Dean Burgess, the director of the Northwest Piedmont Area Agency on Aging. "The senior ambassadors program exists because (Joines) listened to a concern voiced by a senior," Burgess said. "His work in making the program a reality has moved the city of Winston-Salem closer to becoming a true senior-friendly community where older adults can come downtown and enjoy all the musical and cultural opportunities that the city offers."

Winston-Salem was the only award recipient in North Carolina. Four other awards were given this year to nominees in South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

*Pictured are representatives of the Northwest Piedmont Area Agency on Aging presenting Mayor Allen Joines the 2006 Outstanding Community Service Award from the eight-state Southeastern Assocation of Area Agencies on Aging.

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