Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Legacy Book Projects

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This 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.

Legacy Books is an intergenerational project that brings Baltimore's young and old together to produce e-books. The older adults share their stories that student capture and put online.

"We find that the combination of youth with tech knowledge and elders with stories is a match made in heaven," said Beatrice Odom Scott, founder of the Legacy Books project and a digital publishing consultant. "We have a number of Legacy Book projects in Baltimore including the ZHAP program at the Zeta Center and at local schools."

Young and old working together to capture and share stories has been good for restoring dignity and self-value for many families, especially those from disadvantaged communities.

But Annette Saunders, of Baltimore Grandfamilies PTSA, noted that the project offers something else.

"The books have become family treasures," she explained. "Two of the grandparents [who participated] have died, and both families expressed how glad they are to have the story books."

Annette also cherishes her own.

"My husband and I made one for our first grandson," she explained, adding that the first grader enjoys reading their story from cover to cover.

Annette hopes to get funding for another group of grandfamilies - those from Sandtown, Park Heights and Poplar Grove - what she calls three of the cities "really challenging communities."

Annette sings the Legacy Book project's praises wherever she goes. Of her experience, she added: "It is so rewarding!"

Contact Beatrice O. Scott for more info on Legacy Books.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Family First Act Next Steps

Generations United is deeply disappointed that the Senate left for recess in September without passing the Family First Prevention Services Act.

While the bill didn’t pass, your voices have been heard. We had overwhelming participation and heroic engagement from you, especially in the last few weeks.

More than 400 organizations from every state in the nation urged their support for the groundbreaking legislation which would have fundamentally changed federal support for child welfare in this country, offering much-needed support for grandfamilies both inside and outside the child welfare system. 

Individuals and organizations supporting children, youth and caregivers in grandfamilies, birth parents, foster youth, doctors, judges, child welfare agencies, substance abuse treatment programs, and mental health providers joined together to speak up about the importance of keeping children with family and providing them with quality supports and services they need to help children thrive.

With such a showing of support, Congress will be hard- pressed to pass a major piece of child welfare legislation in the future that doesn’t include strong provisions for grandfamilies.

We will not give up. We will speak louder.

Please take time to thank the senators who cosponsored the bill and all members of the House of Representatives who passed the bill by unanimous consent in June. And urge them to continue to stand for grandfamilies.

Thank you for your incredible work and commitment to our children, caregivers and families.

Monday, October 03, 2016

TimeOut@UCLA - 2016 Programs of Distinction Designee

TimeOut@UCLA trains and mobilizes undergraduate students to interact and provide companionship to elders with early-stage Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia while providing respite for family caregivers. 

UCLA students, who are trained before the first session on how to appropriately interact with patients living with Alzheimer's and dementia, are recruited to meet with seniors at a senior center for three hours, twice a week. 

All students in the program are trained before the first session on how to appropriately interact with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

During a nine-month period, 50 students provided companionship for 26 seniors, totaling 1,593 hours of respite for caregivers. 

Activities are led by two activities coordinators (students) who are specially trained for this role. 

Some group activities include Bingo, dancing, and stretching. Individual activities include coloring, card games, paintings, scrabble, and conversation.

By pairing seniors and students based on similar interests, careers, and hobbies, TimeOut@UCLA provides a community-based intergenerational companionship and respite service that promotes positive views of working with the elderly among college students.

In addition, the seniors, who have many years of career experience,provide mentorship to the students. 

For example, a student who wants to be a physician can be matched up with a senior who formerly worked as a physician and can provide insight on different career paths in medicine or their experience working as a doctor.

Learn more about our 2016 Programs of Distinction designees!