Intergenerational Programs Becoming More Popular Across the U.S.
Intergenerational programs are taking shape around the country as more colleges and communities are experimenting with bringing the nation’s young and old together to foster kinship and improve quality of life for all ages.
For example, Virginia Tech’s campus is hoping its program will give older adults with cognitive impairments more purposeful lives while also teaching children how to be respectful of seniors and teaching colleges students how to work with both groups, according to a report published by Pew Charitable Trusts.
While Virginia Tech’s and Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical campus have been operating intergenerational programs for years, other universities like Ohio State and Arizona State are just exploring the field by establishing centers to study child behavior, aging and other issues.
Some cities and counties are focusing on the issue as well. San Diego County in 2002 hired an intergenerational coordinator and hosts Intergenerational Games where adults 50 and over can team with children for games and sports like Frisbee and badminton. Another program funded by the county and California unites adults over 55, early childhood education staff and preschoolers to learn about healthy living and to take care of community gardens. More than 41,500 volunteers – mostly seniors – provided the equivalent of $4.5 million in work for the county, according to the report.
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