Monday, February 08, 2016

The Intergenerational African-American Quilting Workshop at the Brooklyn Public Library

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 the Brooklyn Public Library's intergenerational African American quilting workshop, which honors the historical significance of quilting in the days before the Civil War.

(Check our archives.)

The African American quilting tradition dates back to the U.S. antebellum period, but has deeper roots in the West African textile arts.

Youths are taught about this history while learning a useful skill from older adult volunteers.

Some quilts were created out of necessity, while others were encoded with secret messages and symbols–African Adinkra symbols popular amongst the Akan of Ghana, West Africa–to aide enslaved Africans in their escape from chattel slavery.

During a time period when it was illegal for African Americans to read and write, other quilts were created to record family history and use as tools during storytelling.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? 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.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

All Together Now

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 All Together Now through Story Center, which invites older adults and youth across the US to honor the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and narrow the generation gap through story.

(Check our archives for parts 1-74.)

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement of the fifties and sixties, All Together Now seeks to remind younger generations that “rights must always be renewed and reaffirmed” and that social justice is an ongoing effort for communities facing ongoing discrimination and marginalization.

Through free day-long Storied Sessions, All Together Now staff assists elders and youth in sharing stories about taking action in their communities and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement in their lives.

Using the Story Circle process, each participant is supported in creating a story, written and recorded in his or her own voice, with an accompanying photo.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? 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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

ReServe's READY Program

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 ideas is ReServe's READY program in New York, which helps low-income students apply to college by training and deploying professionals age 55 and up as college mentors.

(Check our archives for parts 1-73.)

The ReServe and AmeriCorps partnership has created more than 100 AmeriCorps ReServist direct-service opportunities in New York City and Miami, Florida.

Experienced and motivated older adults, age 55-plus, can contribute their life and professional skills by committing to long-term, direct-service AmeriCorps assignments.

AmeriCorps ReServists create, improve and expand services that address diverse issues such as youth development, education, adult literacy, individual professional and economic development, and adults who are homebound and isolated.

AmeriCorp READY ReServists help over-burdened college counselors in approximately 70 high-need urban high schools.

They meet with students and their families to familiarize them with their college options, complete financial aid and college applications, and help them evaluate their financial aid packages.

College mentors reach over 2500 students in over 50 schools.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? 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, January 20, 2016

Germantown Friends School Mentoring Program

PHOTO: Home Room
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 ideas is Germantown Friends School Mentoring Program, a middle school mentoring program based in Philadelphia run by Center in the Park (CIP), an aging support nonprofit.

(Check our archives for parts 1-72.)

Sharing is the keynote of this mentoring program with 6th grade students.

Over an eight-month time period, students and members of CIP meet monthly and become partners through the exchange of personal experiences, social history, family folklore, origins, goals, and ambitions.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? 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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More Than a House: A Community for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

This story first appeared in our State of Grandfamilies in America: 2015 report.

In the Bronx borough of New York City, an apartment building rises above the streets, safely housing grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, giving all of them – young and old – a supportive community where they can nurture a positive family future.

The Grandparent Family Apartments building – a joint venture of PSS and the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing – has pioneered a successful model that draws attention from around the world.

“Primarily, these are situations where the grandparents have really stepped up and taken on an enormous responsibility,” said PSS Executive Director Rimas J. Jasin. “They don’t have the income or, often, the physical resources. But, family is important to them, and they’ve made the commitment to do what they can.”

The 50-unit building opened in 2005, after years of planning and intermediary measures to help the suddenly increasing number of lower-income grandparents who took custody of their grandchildren during the crack cocaine and AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. Whether in senior-only housing or in homes that became too small overnight, these grandparents needed to move.

Jasin said everyone involved understood that the adults and the children needed shelter and much more.

“That’s why we built more than an apartment. We made sure, through the PSS Kinship Program, that there is a supportive environment with social services, skill building workshops, programming for the kids, counseling, intergenerational activities, etc.”

“That’s the one big difference between our building and other similar buildings: It’s a real community, and we have staff on site who foster that value,” Jasin said. Our families know they’re part of something special, and they’re proud of that.

Plus, we’ve grown together over the last 10 years, learning from each other, so there is that dynamic of community and an expectation for people to be supporting members of that community.”

About 60 grandparents and 100 grandchildren live in the Grandparent Family Apartments. One measure of success is that last year, more than 90 percent of the children progressed to their next grade in school.

Jasin noted, “Putting into words why this place is great is hard. We’re able to help them navigate systems and situations, the grandparents support one another and, in the end, these kids have a much better chance than they would have on their own.”