ICAA Champions: Victoria Padro


In 2011, the International Council on Active Aging® launched ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age® Campaign to promote positive views of aging and the value of active aging at every turn. ICAA Champions are individuals and organizations that act as role models and advocates. This blog celebrates these supporters.


Born into a large family, Victoria Padro absorbed from a young age how to cultivate things. “My mother was very creative, and I learned a lot from her, including gardening, sewing, ceramics, and other crafts,” reveals Padro. “Since working and being active were instilled in me early, I continue to learn from others and teach myself new things today.”


Opportunities abound for 89-year-old Padro at Atria Seville, the independent and assisted living community in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she lives. To encourage a fulfilling lifestyle for residents, the community offers a full and varied schedule of events through Atria Senior Living’s Engage Life® program. Engage Life targets eight distinct dimensions of engagement “to keep mind, body and spirit active.” The Kentucky-based provider offers this signature program in its communities across the continental United States and Canada.


Since moving to Atria Seville, Padro has learned how to knit, crochet, draw and paint—“activities I never knew I could do until I tried!” she exclaims. Staples in her busy life include work on her creative projects as well as doing things that preserve her active lifestyle.


Padro eats well and takes care of her mental and physical health, she says. Her day starts “with rosary, prayer, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and crochet,” followed by a mid-morning exercise class. Padro is often then “out and about” until after dinner. “In between art or craft programs here, I walk a mile or crochet,” she states. “I am amazed at how many beautiful items you can complete if you work on them a little every day.” In just over a year, the industrious matriarch has given family members four blankets, five baby sets, “and I am working on my third afghan” [blanket]. She also crochets scarves to support school fundraisers.


Other interests include participating in civic engagement projects—such as making sandwiches for Street Teens, a nonprofit that helps homeless and at-risk youth. In addition, Padro stays up to date on current events, finances and trends. And each year, she takes the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge. In 2014, when Engage Life Director Jill Ann Biondo launched her innovative Active Aging Champ Challenge at Atria Seville, Padro signed up for that, too.


Atria Senior Living, a founding partner in ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age® Campaign, rolled out the Active Aging Champion program several years ago. Aligned with the ICAA Champions program, Atria’s national program asks “residents who epitomize the active-aging lifestyle to serve as role models and educators in their communities.” Biondo’s Champ Challenge outlines five action goals in each Engage Life dimension, which residents strive to complete. Padro achieved a silver level, accomplishing four of the five goals in all eight areas, and recently enrolled as an ICAA Champion.


As a Champion, Padro encourages her peers to cultivate new interests. “I tell them I never painted before trying the weekly art class, and I didn’t know I could paint until I tried.” Last May, she won a gold medal for her painting at Atria Seville’s Art & Wine reception. Her efforts inspire Biondo. “As a child, I used to paint and draw, but haven’t been making time to do that over the years,” the Engage Life director mentions. “Every time I see another completed project from Victoria, it hits me that she did that beautiful piece of artwork just one stitch at a time or one brush stroke at a time, and I could be doing that, too.”

Emphasizes Padro, “You can make a difference in your own life, your family’s life, your community, and in the world if you ‘don’t stop’ and ‘keep trying.’”