Wit and wisdom

The official theme of this month’s magazine is volunteering. And, indeed, you’ll find plenty of content to address this hugely important topic for seniors.

But if you check out the rest of the magazine, you’ll see that another theme is afoot as well: Women!

This month I’ve devoted our cover to not one or two, but three local women — the founders of PRIME Productions, a local theater company created to provide more paid work for seasoned female thespians and stage workers in the Twin Cities.

Coming from a variety of different backgrounds, this truly amazing trio is arguing that being a woman “of a certain age” isn’t a drawback, but, rather, a desirable attribute that denotes experience, wisdom and huge potential for leadership.

As Elena Giannetti, a co-founder of PRIME Productions, said: “There’s a slow shift happening. We had our first female presidential candidate. Women are owning their womanness, being proud of their age.”

So it’s not only womanness that’s being valued, but also the wisdom of age.

I believe our youth-obsessed, male-dominated world could do with a bit more of that.

Speaking of strong women: In this issue, we also have the historic tale of Alice O’Brien of St. Paul. I couldn’t help but admire her can-do spirit and courage.

During World War I, she worked as a volunteer mechanic and driver for American forces in Paris, and treated wounded soldiers during her time as an auxiliary nurse while there, too. (It’s all detailed in her candid words in the new historical book, Alice in France: The World War I Letters of Alice M. O’Brien.)

Women are also silently represented on our Caregiving pages this month: Did you know that every year, nearly $8 billion in health care costs go unpaid in the state of Minnesota? And who volunteers to take on those health-care needs — for free? The answer is “unpaid family caregivers” — a group that is 75 percent female.

So with this issue, I’m happy to salute some of state’s many volunteers.

But I’m also delighted we’re able to spotlight a few local women as well.

Happy spring!