|(PHOTO: Little Brothers of Minnesota) NEST |
(Neighbors Embracing Seniors Together) is a new initiative
by Little Brothers
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-intentional 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.
Since 2012, Opportunity Neighborhood - of New Brighton, Minnesota - and Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly have been partnering to build social connections and fight isolation through fun informal events that bring large groups of youth and older adults together.
Participating K-12th grade youth are from an after-school program Opportunity Neighborhood provides at Ames Lake Neighborhood, an affordable housing community in St. Paul. The older adults are identified through Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly outreach program that serves both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Events are fun and open doors for friendships to begin. Youth and older adults are paired up at tables to play games, create crafts or play BINGO.
Social gatherings like this have shown to increase happiness and improve health in older adults. While in youth they have revealed improved educational learning and self-image.
In addition to these events, youth create crafts monthly for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly’s Friendship and Flowers care packages program that are delivered to homebound seniors.