Monday, May 23, 2016

Senior Adults and Students Come Together to Create a Memorable Exhibit - Seniors & Their Stories

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs. 

This week’s article is submitted by LeadingAge.

This week's cool idea: residents of Trinity Senior Living Community (TSLC), a LeadingAge member, and The Institute of Music & Dance (IMD) -- through the Kresge Onstage! Program -- developed and conducted the “Seniors & Their Stories” workshop and exhibit.

This multifaceted project brought together senior adults living in the McGivney Bethune Apartments on the campus of Marygrove College, Marygrove College undergraduates in the Arts and Civic Engagement course, and renowned Detroit photographer, Barbara Barefield.

“Twenty three students enjoyed listening to and recording the personal stories of 7 TSLC seniors, living in northwest Detroit,” said Judith Molina, Director of IMD. “They developed, through word, dance, song, and visual art, a creative expression of the individuals they came to know more personally.”

The photo exhibit, Senior & Their Stories, was on display at the Beyond Words Gallery at Marygrove College library in Detroit, Michigan last March. All involved were thrilled and proud of the results.

For the students, they got an opportunity to interact with and learn about seniors’ rich history, while making art and getting course credit.

For the seniors, it was a wonderful chance to share their stories with young adults and see their lives expressed in beautiful and meaningful art.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Share the inspiration. You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Meet Barbara Brown - Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Barbara Brown considers herself a retired high school teacher.

But in truth, she’s never really left the classroom. Now, she mentors youth at risk of becoming pregnant through programs run by ONEgeneration in Van Nuys, California.

As a mentor in the Teen Parent Support program, Brown combines her experience as both teacher and parent to help young people understand the complexities and challenges of raising children. She gently guides the teens, drawing on her own experiences to spark discussions and assure them they are capable, competent, and caring parents.

According to colleagues, Brown “is very attentive to the needs of each teen in the program…”

The teens, in turn, become engaged in the program because they see that Brown really cares for them and that they can trust her.

Brown also serves as a model for the young people she mentors.

A mother herself, she went back to school to get her teaching degree while raising six children. And now in retirement, along with the volunteering, she takes classes in Spanish, art, and writing at the local Senior Enrichment Center.

Young people aren’t the only beneficiaries of Brown’s dedication.

She writes columns in a community newsletter where she discusses the pregnant and parenting teen program along with her enthusiasm for volunteering. Through her writing, Brown has helped persuade other older adults to become mentors – enriching their lives along the way.

She doesn’t stop with recruitment. Once the volunteers are on board, Brown makes herself available to them as their “go-to” person, offering advice and guidance.


Anh Tran, ONEgeneration's community relations manager, nominated Brown for the Older Adult Volunteer Award.

“Barbara continues to volunteer her time, wisdom, and warm smile week after week, semester after semester, season after season," Tran noted. "I thank my lucky stars that she is a part of all of our programs.”

Monday, May 02, 2016

The East County Intergenerational Garden

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week's cool idea, the East County Intergenerational Garden at Cuyamaca College in California, is an intergenerational gardening program where older adults teach preschoolers how food is grown and develops an appreciation for enjoying healthy eating.

(Check our archives for parts 1-80 | non-archived: 1, 2, 3,4 and 5)

For a few hours each week, seven gardening enthusiasts, ages 60 and older, share a little of their know-how with 60 preschoolers tending a small, practice garden of sorts as they await the installation of a much larger one that the college is calling its Intergenerational Garden.

The children, ages 2-5, participate in this program.
Recently cleared of mountains of mulch and debris that had collected over the years on the vacant site, the 1/3-acre plot between the Child Development Center and the Water Conservation Garden will boast lots of extras, including a nearby amphitheater and a meandering creek bed.

The Child Development Center is a pre-kindergarten day care facility serving both the college and off-campus communities, and is uniquely suited as an onsite lab for students enrolled in the college’s child development program.

A $25,000 grant from the county’s Health and Human Services Agency helped establish the new garden and also pays the $100 monthly stipend for the seniors, affectionately called the “Gardening Grannies” by the center’s young inhabitants.

For the children, ages 2-5, the intent is to teach good nutrition to a population accustomed to diets heavy on processed foods.

For the seniors, it’s a healthy outdoor activity and a rare opportunity to connect with kids.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #coolideas? You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week's cool idea is one from the past.

Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization is an intergenerational immunization program based in Texas.

(Check our archives for parts 1-80 | non-archived: 123, 4 and 5)

The Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization program strives to encourage the timely receipt of immunizations for pre-school aged children in Texas and beyond.

Senior volunteers possess the experience of witnessing the devastating effects of diseases that are now vaccine preventable. 

Their understanding of the critical need for immunizations, coupled with their unique skills, compels them to become devoted advocates to the mission of ensuring the health of the youngest members of their local community.

The program trains older adults to educate new mothers in hospitals or birthing centers about preschool immunization. Consenting mothers are enrolled into a community-based immunization reminder program.

Seniors/Volunteers for Child Immunization also calls or sends cards reminding mothers of their childrens' two, four, six, and twelve month immunizations, and evaluates their success based on official immunization records.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Post them to our 
Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Friday, March 25, 2016

City of Coral Springs - National Finalist

Intergenerational Olympics
Located in Broward County, the City of Coral Springs is a planned community that offers inviting neighborhoods, a diverse business community, top-rated schools, and beautiful parks.

Applauded for its overall livability, low crime rate, and family-friendly focus, it’s no surprise that Coral Springs is making strides to enhance intergenerational connections for its 127,000+ residents.

Since launching its first intergenerational program in 2009, the City of Coral Springs has developed a number of opportunities for older and younger residents to contribute to the growth and well-being of the community and its residents.

One of the newest programs, for example, engages tech-savvy local high school students as technology instructors to participants at the local senior center.

Florence Killoran, a local elder, enjoyed the six week computer course the teens facilitated.

Intergenerational Computer Class
“The teens taught us how to use our cell phones, computers and so many other electronic items,” she recalled. “At the end of the year, we had an intergenerational barbecue. That was nice to sit and chat with the kids.”

The City of Coral Springs’ 49 parks offer events and projects that intentionally connect the generations, like the Intergenerational Beautification Project.

Now in its third year, the project pairs teams of youth with older adult leaders to work together on outdoor projects to improve the community.

In addition to improving the local landscape and developing a community garden, the project has also served as a collaborative clean-up day to remove litter from neighborhood streets and highways.

Afterwards, youth and older adults enjoy lunch together. The city also recognizes participants of all ages at an award ceremony.

In 2015, the City Commission voted to help fund an intergenerational lecture series in partnership with Nova Southeastern University. Older adults gather with grandchildren and local youth to learn about an array of cultural, social, and educational topics.

They also learn about community-offered research, conservation and training programs.

Intergenerational Chess
Chloe Gouge, a student at Taravella High School, participated in the “Adopt an Elder” program, a mentorship program coordinated by Coral Springs High School that pairs students with elders from the community.

“My own grandparents live far away or are deceased so this was a nice experience for me to connect with older adults,” she explained.

The City of Coral Springs excels at building partnerships across agencies and sectors to achieve its intergenerational focus.

In partnership with the Kiwanis Club, for example, the local police and fire departments coordinate Safety Town, a nationally recognized program for young children to learn valuable lessons about safety. Each summer, the interactive program engages older volunteers in teaching young children about the importance of personal and traffic safety.

The City of Coral Springs partners with Nova Southeastern University, whose professors teach classes at the senior center.
The community prides itself on its commitment to engage all ages.

Intergenerational Clean-Up Day
“The seniors,” according to local elder Florence Killoran, “have done so much with the youth in the community.”

This includes the Senior Crochet Club making blankets for Kids in Distress, a local nonprofit for children who were victims of abuse.

City Commissioner Joy Carter counts this and other intergenerational efforts towards the “good experience of living and working” there.

“I have always been impressed with the City’s approach to their residents’ satisfaction,” she explained. “We have a tremendous volunteer base and a high-minded staff that remains vigilant to find programs that are interactive and supportive toward our citizens.”

To learn more about the City of Coral Springs, visit www.CoralSprings.org.