In 2014 Shorewood was named one of four "Best Intergenerational Communities" in the country.


A story

In 2000, Stephanie Sue Stein, Director of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging, had an idea.  She wanted to develop a program to allow older adults to identify what it would take to be able to stay in their community as they age, and then she wanted to partner with the community to make it happen.  Sue Kelley worked with Stephanie to develop a proposal for a new program along these lines, “Milwaukee County’s Connecting Caring Communities”, and submitted the proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and three local foundations for funding.  After a rigorous selection process, the proposal was accepted, one of sixteen nationally. 

Upon implementation, Sue’s role became that of Project Facilitator, coordinating the work of six different neighborhood-organizing projects in addition to two separate  project components.  Sue regularly convened a Core Leadership Group to ensure the lines of communication were open between all the partners, particularly in regard to sharing resources and lessons learned.  Over the seven years of the program’s operation, her work involved keeping the partners on-task, problem-solving when barriers were encountered, participating in national training sessions hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, submitting reports to the multiple funding partners, coordinating efforts with other community initiatives, and along with Stephanie Stein, serving as the spokesperson for the program.  In 2010, Sue was invited to address the US Senate Aging Committee, at the request of its Chairperson, Senator Herb Kohl, on the topic of creating age-friendly communities a la Connecting Caring Communities.

While coordinating the work of other consultants engaged in neighborhood-organizing efforts, Sue took on her own neighborhood of Shorewood.   As Facilitator of the “Shorewood Connects” program from 2008 - 2019, Sue worked with older adults, Village of Shorewood officials, community volunteers, and business representatives to identify areas where the community could improve its elder-friendliness, whether through fall and spring yard clean-ups, promoting the formation of block groups to connect neighbors, creating awareness of people living with dementia and developing programming via a Memory Cafe, or working with Village officials to learn about the type of housing seniors would like to see developed.

This type of project illustrates the range of Sue’s skills, from working with an organization on a program plan to overseeing its successful implementation and replication.