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Residential Health Advocate - Karon Tyler
Karon Tyler, 72, says she’s shy but her activism speaks to the contrary. If she’s not speaking out for better street lighting and safer streets in her community at City Council, subcommittee or Town Hall meetings, then she’s encouraging other people to take their friends to those meetings, share what they learn, and work to make an impact.
Karon is the definition of leading by example. Because she is retired, Karon is able to help those in need on any given day. "I was fortunate to have support and now I can give support," Karon says. "Lend an ear, let them talk. I'll give you my last dollar because God will give it back in some form."
Karon has been known to give rides to those who need it. Recently, a 63-year-old woman whose 91-year-old mother was in an accident needed a ride to the hospital, so she dropped everything to help out. She believes in neighbors helping neighbors and building community through relationships formed at that level.
"To know there are people who can't drive, who don't have finances to be able to repair their homes, to keep their yard up," Karon says, is heartbreaking. She knows that many people face isolation and loneliness, and she prefers to talk to them face-to-face. “Many people carry the weight of the world in their faces," she says. “We have to connect on a personal level.”
Karon believes that forming relationships with children and youth is another way to make sure they grow up learning how to handle their finances, make sure they make smart decisions, and learn how to give back to others who need help. "It takes a village," Karon explains. "I don't think the selfish are aware of how selfish they are. Sharing and caring is (from) my era" and we have to pass that message along.
"It's knowing that you and I can make changes. It's the idea of not sitting on the sidelines and getting off your butt and doing something in a positive way," Karon says. "Empower other people. (Some) people of color don't like meetings, and that's where the decisions are made. You have to attend to have impact. If someone is not a night person, you can coordinate and go represent, tape it, and share it. Make sure other people are getting the information. We put (elected leaders) in and we can vote them out. Elderly can work on issues affecting children. Get involved. People don't believe I'm shy, but I knew I had to speak up to make a difference. Having a voice is important."
Karon, who has been a Resident Health Advocate with Way Finders since 2017, has advocated for improved street lights, safer streets, and making sure Old Hill neighborhood sidewalks are fully accessible for people who use a wheelchair to get around. She has served as a mentor to youth at a bi-monthly fitness activity with the C3 Police called “Let’s Play.” Working alongside Mass Senior Action members, she has actively advocated for increased public transportation for seniors who faced challenges going to the Raymond Jordan Senior Center with Mass Senior Action Council.