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2018 Senior Family Forum

Hello and Happy New Year!

2017 was an amazing year at Sonora Area Foundation. The organization’s connection to Tuolumne County (residents, programs, groups, clubs, organizations) expanded significantly and we are looking forward to continuing the trend.

Last year was not without firsts as we held the inaugural Senior Family Forum at Sierra Bible Church in May of 2017. The concept originated with one of our Board members, Gary Dambacher. The premise was to bring together area residents to hear informational presentations from local experts on topics of importance to our seniors and their families. Our speakers included: Sheriff Jim Mele, Judge Donald Segerstrom, Judge Kate Segerstrom, Todd Simonson, Patti Hohne, Michelle Dean, Justin Myers, Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter and attorneys William J. Coffill, Tamara Polley, Jennifer Lothert and Gary Dambacher. We tasked the group to cover relevant topics such as; elder abuse, scams, trusts, estate planning, grandparent’s rights, insurance, tax planning and investments in 12 minutes. They all responded admirably. With obvious preparation, each speaker delivered extremely relevant material and made it enjoyable. Our 140 attendees (not bad for a first time event) were quite impressed.

Here are some of the many post event comments received:

“Todd Simonson’s opening was great; “8000 days” got me immediately focused on the info that followed. Overall, the forum offered a great glimpse into the worldview of professionals we seldom get a chance to see or hear; very effective was the sheriff with an engaging activity involving the crowd, people came alive.

Obviously a lot of planning went into this, and it showed. Gary Dambacher did a nice job of introduction and maintaining the flow.”


“Thanks for organizing the Senior Family Forum. Lots of good information, relevant topics, excellent speakers, well executed and worth my time this morning.”


“I thought the lineup of speakers was right on target and they all provided meaningful information with a common theme of preparation.”

Those are representative of feedback received and I absolutely love this comment from Judy Haughton. She and Roger were heading out of town that morning and I pleaded with Roger to at least stop by the forum for as long as they could. Judy’s comment would likely apply to many potential attendees:

“I told my husband we didn’t need to attend the Senior Family Forum because we already have an estate plan. However, I’m so glad we did as we both learned so much and left with a list of items in need of attention. Frankly, things we hadn’t even thought about but need to discuss, with each other, our children and share with our friends.”

Judy Haughton – attended (reluctantly) with her husband Roger. Nothing says it better than; didn’t want to go / so glad we did and Judy said it well.

Hopefully the above comments serve as an encouragement to actually Save the Date and make plans to attend one or both of this year’s events. We also received significant relevant feedback that indicated we likely tried to squeeze too much information in too short a timeframe. Rather than extending to a full day event our committee opted for the idea of holding two sessions each with an area of focus.

Senior Family Forum #1 (Thursday, May 3, 2018) will address legal issues (Senior Scams, Elder Abuse, Trusts, Estates, Grandparent’s Rights, etc.) and

Senior Family Forum #2 (Thursday, October 4, 2018) will focus on financial issues (Investments, Taxes, Social Security, Insurance, Charitable Giving, etc.).

We will once again hold both events at Sierra Bible Church which proved to be an excellent venue with plenty of parking, comfortable seating and very accommodating staff.

We hope you will make plans to join us. Both are free community events and both will run from approximately 8:45am till noon. Reservations are requested. Light snacks will be served.

Please call the Sonora Area Foundation office at 533-2596 for more information.

Darrell Slocum