Friday, March 25, 2016

City of Coral Springs - National Finalist

Intergenerational Olympics
Located in Broward County, the City of Coral Springs is a planned community that offers inviting neighborhoods, a diverse business community, top-rated schools, and beautiful parks.

Applauded for its overall livability, low crime rate, and family-friendly focus, it’s no surprise that Coral Springs is making strides to enhance intergenerational connections for its 127,000+ residents.

Since launching its first intergenerational program in 2009, the City of Coral Springs has developed a number of opportunities for older and younger residents to contribute to the growth and well-being of the community and its residents.

One of the newest programs, for example, engages tech-savvy local high school students as technology instructors to participants at the local senior center.

Florence Killoran, a local elder, enjoyed the six week computer course the teens facilitated.

Intergenerational Computer Class
“The teens taught us how to use our cell phones, computers and so many other electronic items,” she recalled. “At the end of the year, we had an intergenerational barbecue. That was nice to sit and chat with the kids.”

The City of Coral Springs’ 49 parks offer events and projects that intentionally connect the generations, like the Intergenerational Beautification Project.

Now in its third year, the project pairs teams of youth with older adult leaders to work together on outdoor projects to improve the community.

In addition to improving the local landscape and developing a community garden, the project has also served as a collaborative clean-up day to remove litter from neighborhood streets and highways.

Afterwards, youth and older adults enjoy lunch together. The city also recognizes participants of all ages at an award ceremony.

In 2015, the City Commission voted to help fund an intergenerational lecture series in partnership with Nova Southeastern University. Older adults gather with grandchildren and local youth to learn about an array of cultural, social, and educational topics.

They also learn about community-offered research, conservation and training programs.

Intergenerational Chess
Chloe Gouge, a student at Taravella High School, participated in the “Adopt an Elder” program, a mentorship program coordinated by Coral Springs High School that pairs students with elders from the community.

“My own grandparents live far away or are deceased so this was a nice experience for me to connect with older adults,” she explained.

The City of Coral Springs excels at building partnerships across agencies and sectors to achieve its intergenerational focus.

In partnership with the Kiwanis Club, for example, the local police and fire departments coordinate Safety Town, a nationally recognized program for young children to learn valuable lessons about safety. Each summer, the interactive program engages older volunteers in teaching young children about the importance of personal and traffic safety.

The City of Coral Springs partners with Nova Southeastern University, whose professors teach classes at the senior center.
The community prides itself on its commitment to engage all ages.

Intergenerational Clean-Up Day
“The seniors,” according to local elder Florence Killoran, “have done so much with the youth in the community.”

This includes the Senior Crochet Club making blankets for Kids in Distress, a local nonprofit for children who were victims of abuse.

City Commissioner Joy Carter counts this and other intergenerational efforts towards the “good experience of living and working” there.

“I have always been impressed with the City’s approach to their residents’ satisfaction,” she explained. “We have a tremendous volunteer base and a high-minded staff that remains vigilant to find programs that are interactive and supportive toward our citizens.”

To learn more about the City of Coral Springs, visit www.CoralSprings.org.

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