Thursday, March 03, 2011

Awards Season Isn’t Over Yet

Hollywood’s award season officially ended this past weekend with the Oscars. But at Generations United, we’re just getting started. This month, Generations United seeks nominations/submissions for outstanding individuals and organizations that make significant contributions towards rethinking and revitalizing intergenerational connections. Categories include: grandfamilies award, innovation award, leadership for outstanding support of intergenerational programs, outstanding older adult volunteer, outstanding youth volunteer, shared site award, and the Brabazon Award for Research Evaluation.

The Generations United 16th International Conference will take place this summer and one of my favorite events is the Awards Banquet. During the bi-annual gala we celebrate the unsung heroes and heroines who, through their hard work and dedication, make Generations United’s mission come to fruition in their communities. One recent recipient that stands out in my mind is Carrie Ryan. She received the Generations United Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award of 2009.

While in high school, Carrie founded Bridging the Generations, an organization that connects high schools and retirement communities through service-learning projects. She then enrolled in an independent study course called “Images of Aging in Literature” which led her to further pursue her passion for intergenerational programs by connection her high school with a senior facility, Monte Vista Grove Homes, and creating a computer lab. During the summer of 2008, Carrie worked at the computer lab to help the older adult residents become computer literate using lesson plans that she created herself. Throughout the summer, 52 Monte Vista Grove residents used the computer lab with 30 of them attending regularly.

Using her outstanding work as a model, Carrie’s high school alma mater went on to create a senior seminar course with the same name, “Images of Aging in Literature.” Following in her footsteps, other students went on to develop their own service-learning projects to help them further understand aging issues. Carrie now studies at Sewanee University, heading the Senior Citizen’s Outreach Club. She has expanded the club’s outreach to three local retirement communities and recruited many of her fellow college students to participate in visits to these older adult homes. Carrie now acts as an ambassador for intergenerational issues by speaking to audiences about the importance of connecting the generations.

Carrie Ryan is just one example of the amazing work being done by youth, older adults, and everyone in between to connect the generations. If you know someone, or are that person, who does great intergenerational work we hope you’ll consider nominating them.

For guidelines and the application form, visit here. Send submissions to the attention of Anne Tria Wise by email at or mail at 1331 H Street NW, Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005 by March 31, 2011. Generations United will notify recipients by May 15, 2011.

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