Friday, March 07, 2014

Looking Back Part 2

We’re less than three weeks away from honoring the 2014 Best Intergenerational Community Award winners: The Greater Phoenix Region, Arizona; City of Parkland, Florida; Reston, Virginia and Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin.

These four winners are examples of communities across America that are developing innovative practices, programs and policies to solve challenges that benefit people of all ages.

Intergenerational communities thrive because they build strong, supportive communities with fresh solutions to challenges that help people of all ages. They advance policies and practices that both acknowledge and promote intergenerational interdependence.
Last week, we highlighted a few of our inaugural winners from 2012. In the weeks leading up to our March 25 event, we’ll continue sharing stories from our past winners’ stories. This is the second in a three-part series that shows why age-intentional strategies are important.

Introducing…San Diego County, California (2012 winner); Virginia Planning District 10 (2012 winner) and Dunedin, Florida (2013 winner).

With three million residents to serve, San Diego County absolutely believes in the need to support intergenerational connections
Today, all types of county services and programs have an intergenerational aspect. Libraries and Parks and Recreation offer intergenerational art, math, reading and jazz programs. Older adults take part in a Workforce Academy for Youth, mentoring foster youth for six months as they get ready to leave the foster system and join the work world.

Young people have the opportunity to join the Legacy Corps Program where they serve caregivers and learn about the aging process. The county also works with providers that serve older adults and youth to sponsor Resident and Youth Leadership Academies. These academies train older adults and youth in leadership, and primarily focus on community planning principles and environmental prevention strategies. The list goes on.

Covering the City of Charlottesville and sprawling counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson, Virginia’s Planning District 10 was until fairly recently as divided in its approach to serving multiple generations as in its geography. 

Today, all eight community centers have active intergenerational programs, and adult care centers interact on a daily basis with co-located child care centers.

In addition, there are intergenerational song-writing/performance programs, tutoring opportunities, vocational education programs, nutrition initiatives, and high school student representation on JABA’s volunteer board as well as many other intergenerational activities.Community gardens yield locally grown food that is used to feed elderly residents at the local community and senior centers.

Dunedin, home to over 35,000 residents, formalized its efforts to connect generations 1992. 

That’s when the community’s Committee on Aging formed an Intergenerational Subcommittee “to bring public awareness to the value of intergenerational relationships by supporting and promoting recreational, educational and service projects that bring together people of all ages.”

Today, intergenerational awareness in Dunedin is free-flowing and seamless. This mindset resonates from the city leaders through staff and into the community.  Each year since 2006, the mayor has issued a formal proclamation to bring awareness and commitment to the community’s celebration of Intergenerational Week.

During that week – the first full week in December – the city celebrates activities to cap off all the events and programs that brought generations together throughout the year.  Yearly, there are 29 events in the city that bring together multiple generations, along with ongoing programs, ranging from teenagers visiting nursing homes, intergenerational activities at senior centers and holiday festivals.  

Read the full community profiles here
.  Stay tuned for next week, when we introduce Itta Bena, Mississippi; Montgomery County, Maryland and Westchester County, New York.

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