Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AGE to age

(PHOTO: Joe Rossi) Kateisha and Tom.
Learn more about these two.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each week, we'll feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This new 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.

In part three of our series, we feature the Northland Foundation’s AGE to age program, a 2012 Program of Distinction designee. (Read parts one and two)

Bringing generations together in an intergenerational grassroots initiative, AGE to age is designed to connect youth with older adults to build relationships and enhance their communities.

It certainly enhanced Rita Baresh’s quality of life. The 70-something volunteer, of Moose Lake, Minn., divided her time between the Moose Lake KIDS PLUS and AGE to age initiatives, resulting from the Northland Foundation’s partnership with Moose Lake community members.

A 2012 article in the Northland Foundation’s newsletter captured Baresh’s excitement.  “When I see a child from KIDS PLUS or AGE to age Gener-Reader at the super market or in the school halls,” she said, “and they run up for that extra hug or say, ‘When am I going to see you next?’ – wow, it is beyond words.”

This initiative provides an avenue for different generations to overcome age stereotypes, establish friendships, and pool their strengths for civic good.

Over 1,200 people age 55+, 2,400 youth and 1,300 adults from the generations in between have been touched by this program, and momentum continues to grow.

AGE to age’s “secret of success” lies in nurturing respectful relationships and empowering communities to embrace the unique talents of all ages.

“It is inspiring to hear all that the AGE to age sites have been accomplishing, as well as learn of intergenerational activities taking place in other KIDS PLUS Communities,” explained Lynn Haglin, Northland Foundation Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director. “We are lucky to live in such an exceptional place where all age groups are valued.” 

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