Connecting Generations

March 9, 2018

in Organization News

Across Lifespace communities, programs and partnerships connect youth with residents. The intergenerational partnerships span from pre-school to college students, and what you hear from both sides share the foci of better learning, understanding and interconnectivity.

At Beacon Hill, in Lombard, Illinois, high school students from Walther Christian Academy engage with residents twice annually in a program to build connections between generations. They prepare questions for each other and engage in lengthy interactions sharing views on current and historical events. Both sides say it’s energizing to learn from each other.

Learning about Jewish heritage is the focus of intergenerational programs connecting young students with residents at Village on the Green in Longwood, Florida. Through a partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, residents take part in various activities with kids, passing on their knowledge about Jewish traditions and discussing issues affecting the Jewish community. It provides roots of understanding for children and purpose for residents.

A Drake University student never imagined her senior year housing would be in a senior living community. But vocal performance major Gabby Clutter calls it an extraordinary experience to live at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, Iowa. The Artist-in-Residence program carefully selects a Drake student who, in return for room and board, performs recitals for residents at least twice a month. Residents say it goes well beyond, creating amazing friendships. According to Gabby, “It’s such a cool experience for residents, for me and even my friends who come over to see how special and important it is to connect with people outside their little bubble.”

Research, including from Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Social Work, has found convincing evidence that these programs – found at all Lifespace communities – increase participants’ productivity, foster a positive sense of interdependence within the community and encourage lifelong contributions to a common good.

(In the photo: Gabby Clutter, Drake University student and artist-in-residence at Deerfield, enjoys a laugh with a resident after a recital at the community.)

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