• Promotion of Social Connectedness
  • Development of Community Partnerships
  • Encouragment of Personal Renewal
  • Building of Leadership
  • Encouragment of Volunteering and Civic Engagement
  • Exploration of New and Different Types of Volunteer Opportunities

Founding Members

CJ Basik (CRPC, CRPS) is a financial advisor who specializes in retirement issues.

Dorothy Keenan has spent her career planning and providing classes, programs and workshops to older adults. She retired from Fairfax County as the Supervisor of Senior Services, overseeing the operations of 13 senior centers. Since her retirement, Dorothy has continued to work with the 50+ age group but has shifted her focus to the younger members of this population. She networks within the community of professionals who work with “Third Age” issues both locally and nationally. She also works with George Mason University in developing and delivering retirement classes.

Judy Ratliff is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a practice in psychotherapy and counseling in Fairfax. She specializes in life transitions and fulfilling one’s potential and has worked extensively with people who are looking at the next steps in the paths of their lives. She is also a member of Leadership Fairfax.

Candy Spitz ( LCSW, ACC, BCC) is a Career & Life Coach who specializes in helping people 50+ design transitions aligned with their values and passions so they live with no regrets. Transitions give us opportunities to shake up our lives. Candy has helped thousands of people use their strengths to address challenges and make positive changes that lead to growth. As a pioneer and leader in both the Positive Aging and Life Planning Movements, Candy lives her passion helping people discover their authentic paths. Learn more about Candy at www.boomerslifecoach.com

Lois Tetrick (Ph.D.) is a University Professor at George Mason where she heads the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program. Dr. Tetrick has over 25 years of teaching experience in higher education. Her expertise is in the areas of occupational health and safety, occupational stress, the work-family interface, and positive aging.


  • Long Term Care Coordinating Council, Service to Seniors Subcommittee
  • George Mason University’s Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Chesapeake Life Planning Network
  • Fairfax County’s  Neighborhood and Community Services
  • Leadership Fairfax
  • Volunteer Fairfax


Everyone wants to age in a positive manner!  George Bernard Shaw said, “You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing!”

The Positive Aging Coalition was organized to help ensure the wellbeing of individuals while working to improve the quality of life of Northern Virginia residents.  The Coalition formed after the success of the 2nd Annual Positive Aging Conference, held in November 2008.  More than 100 people attended this conference, held at James Lee Community Center’s Theater. In a world of new technology, this conference was telecast from Minneapolis Minnesota with well-known authors in the field of positive aging as the speakers.

Coalition members collected feedback from the conference participants in the hopes of finding topics of interest to transitioning retirees.  Four themes emerged as important to this population in achieving a “Purposeful Life.” Participants were interested in re-careering (encore careers), community involvement (civic engagement), life-long learning, and healthy aging (fitness, wellness, and social connectedness).

Formed in January 2009, the Coalition’s initial goal was to assist people in this voyage of discovery by establishing a “Next Chapter” in Fairfax, Virginia. Next Chapter projects are community coalitions across the country that are working to help people in the second half of life set a course, connect with peers, and find pathways to meaningful work and significant service.

In the spring of 2009, three separate discussion groups gathered to talk about Passion and Purpose in their lives.  In the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010, the coalition offered the workshop “Connecting with Others – How – What – Where – Why – When,” which looked at the value of leisure in positive aging, and explored new and interesting opportunities in our area.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors declared 2010 to be the Year of the Older Adult in Fairfax County. The Positive Aging Coalition held a large community meeting to gather local leaders to discuss what a “Next Chapter” might look like here in Fairfax.   There are currently well over 400 people who have joined the movement.

In November of 2011, the Coalition invited Abigail Trafford, well known author and Washington Post columnist, to discuss her book “My Time” to a large group of people at George Mason University.  She talked about making the most of what she calls the Bonus Decades after 50.  Over 100 people were in attendance to hear her uplifting message.

In March of 2012, the Coalition held a workshop at Reston Community Center.  “Live Your Best Life” offered sessions on Finding Your Passion & Purpose, Choosing an Encore Career, Your Transition Life Plan, Maintaining Social Connections, and Your Boarding Pass for a First Class Retirement.

The Coalition is currently actively supporting two interesting projects in the Fairfax community – The Lifetime Leadership Program offered through Leadership Fairfax, in partnership with Volunteer Fairfax and George Mason University and the Retirement Courses offered by George Mason University.

  • Lifetime Leadership Program (LLP) – People who have a wealth of knowledge  from their careers learn how to convert this experience into meaningful volunteer roles in their communities through high-level volunteering and community engagement. They are empowered to look at themselves in relation to their community-at-large, and encouraged to explore opportunities for civic awareness, community action and volunteer connections.
  • Charting the Course to Your Retirement – People who are transitioning to retirement will discuss topics such as – changing roles within their relationships, career and part time work, the value of community involvement, changing family commitments and enjoying a lifetime of leisure.  Through discussion, a workbook and exercises that promote reflection, they are provided with tools to create an individual, customized retirement plan.

Future plans include continuation of the LLP and Retirement Class projects.  Additionally, the Coalition plans to work more closely with our partners to provide an exploration of community engagement practices among the younger older adults who reside in Fairfax.  Questions to ask include: What might we do to connect the Boomer population to the unique needs of Fairfax non-profits?  How do we maintain these community connections?

Programs such as those listed above would normally be housed in a “Next Chapter” if one were to exist in Fairfax County.   The Coalition will continue to work closely with community organizations and non-profits to ensure that such workshops and programs are offered in Northern Virginia.


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