Friday, July 13, 2012

ReServists in action: Woodie Pagan

Contributed by Islara B. Suoto, Alliance for Aging Director of Planning & Special Projects

The workshop planned for a recent Tuesday in Little Havana was to train 15 elders in safe-walking behaviors. All arrangements had been made and materials prepared: 15 Certificates of Completion were printed for each "older graduate" and 15 Safety Kits assembled as a graduation gift. The room was set up, the attendance sheet ready, curriculum module loaded on the laptop, a new light bulb in the projector, and all systems a "go."

The trainer for the workshop, a ReServist named Woodie Pagan, called my cell phone the night before the Little Havana event. "Hi. Guess how many participants are coming to the workshop tomorrow?" he asked. "Oh, the 15 we planned for," I responded. 

"Nope," he continued, "there will be more than 300 elders at the workshop in the Little Havana Activity & Nutrition Center!"  

I gasped, caught my breath and said, "Woodie, do you want to do this?" He quickly responded, "Yes."

I asked him, "Can you do this?" He replied with a simple, "Yeah, sure, no problem."

That, in essence, is Woodie Pagan--lawyer, ex-New York Traffic Court Judge, former high school football coach, college baseball and football player, HUD developer--and now, in his encore career through ReServe, a Project Specialist for the Alliance for Aging. There is nothing too big or too small for this exceptional person to tackle when he commits and believes in what he is doing.

Woodie is proving to be an invaluable employee who has embraced the opportunity to make our diverse elders throughout Miami-Dade County safer. His inimitable and friendly style makes everyone around him feel at ease, and his approachability transfers into the community as he trains hundreds of older people how to be more careful about walking on the streets of Miami. His experience base includes years of diplomacy, a teaching background, practical understanding of nonprofit operation and programs, and a keen legal mind. More importantly, though, this ReServist exemplifies how the "right fit" between a person and a job--no matter what stage of life--can revitalize and invigorate both.

To learn more about ReServe Miami, please visit

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