Community

DeLoach finds 'perfect match' in new job 'celebrating the continuum of life'

Former school board member, known for youth advocacy work, now is coordinator of Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center

LaTasha DeLoach sits in her office at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. She assumed her new role as The Center’s coordinator July 31 after working with Johnson County Social Services. (Marissa Payne/The Gazette)
LaTasha DeLoach sits in her office at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. She assumed her new role as The Center’s coordinator July 31 after working with Johnson County Social Services. (Marissa Payne/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — In the days before her father died at age 58, LaTasha DeLoach talked to him about taking a position leading the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

“When I talked to him, he was like, ‘If you get this job, this could be really great for you and your family as a next-level opportunity for you,’ ” she said.

Now, DeLoach, 37, said she is carrying her father’s words with her as she settles into her new role as the center’s coordinator.

DeLoach assumed the role Tuesday, taking the place of Linda Kopping, who served in that capacity for 23 years. She will coordinate programming for older adults and collaborate with community groups that focus on aging-related issues.

A look at her office reflects just how recently DeLoach has stepped into her role. As of Wednesday, the pictures on the walls from the past coordinator remain, she said, while her own belongings are at home and have yet to make it to the center.

Accustomed to moving at a fast pace at her previous job, DeLoach said she is excited about the slowdown the new role will bring.

“I’m changing shoes,” she said. “I’m used to always having on my sprinter spikes. Now I have on my joggers.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The work DeLoach did before largely fell under the umbrella of youth advocacy, social justice and racial justice, she said.

She worked for nearly 10 years with Johnson County Social Services. She also served for about two years as a member of the Iowa City Community School District’s school board until July 2017.

“I always say this is the job nobody thought of me for because I had always done so much on the youth end publicly,” she said.

But DeLoach said it’s a “perfect match.” If she had a motto, she said it likely would be the same as the senior center’s: Stay active. Stay curious. Stay connected.

Working on the other end of the age spectrum is an opportunity to celebrate the continuum of life, she said.

“All of us can look back on what it was like to be a child, but none of us have taken the time really to investigate what it’s like to be an aging adult,” she said.

She will have the opportunity in her new job to make the community more intergenerational, hosting events throughout the year that are open not only to the senior center’s members, but to people of all ages.

Bringing age groups together will offer people a chance to learn the mistakes and life experiences of those younger and older than themselves, she said.

DeLoach believes in the adage that age is just a number, and people are only as old as they feel.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Moving into this role feels natural to her, she said. It allows her to surround herself with people who have aged successfully.

“Some people haven’t,” she said. “My dad … didn’t quite get a chance to get further down that continuum as a lot of our members. I would’ve loved to see that happen for him.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8332; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.