Bridges training: “Very smooth”!

On Saturday, November 15, leaders from three communities–Newton Community Farm, Hyde Park, and the town of Maynard– were trained on how to implement Bridges: Our Smarts for middle-school students and older adults.  The training was held in the newly restored barn at the Newton Community Farm.

Group Training Nov 2014The Newton Community Farm will implement the program thanks to Alison, the farm’s educator, and Anita, a nurse who volunteers with Bridges Together and applied for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Community Relations Community Health Grant.  Alison explained that The Farm offers many wonderful educational programs but they are age segregated, so she’s excited to be able to offer this joint experience.

Thanks to the MCOA Service Incentive Grant and Lee Ann Frigulietti, Beacon Communities – Georgetown Homes will use the Bridges: Our Smarts to bring together teens and older adults who live in affordable housing in Hyde Park.

Maynard ran the Bridges: Our Stories program this fall with tremendous success.  The volunteer coordinator, Kerry, wanted to run the middle-school program so her older daughter could benefit from this intergenerational experience.  Kerry joined the training this weekend and looks forward to building more Bridges in Maynard.

Trainees were asked to fill out an evaluation form.  Here are some of their responses:

What did you learn?

  • About Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory & Erikson’s socio-emotional development theory
  • Exciting activities that both generations will enjoy
  • How to plan a lesson
  • How to communicate in different ways
  • The potential the program has
  • How much fun can be had
  • How to engage volunteers
  • How to entice teens to participate
  • Schools’ best practices
  • That a company can use this program to improve community relations
  • I learned what an acrostic poem is
  • I learned about the importance of flexible structures in doing sessions with the youth
  • How to incorporate the theories throughout a program
  • Very specific reasoning for every step
  • About embracing the 565 community
  • New getting-to-know you activities

What surprised you?

  • How the population is predicted to change (By the year 2050, there will be more adults over the age of 60 than children under the age of 15 in the US and many other continents)
  • Similarities between you and elders
  • Diversity of strengths represented by different generations
  • How tightly (and loosely) structured this program is (we talked a lot about “flexible structures”)
  • The changes in best practices in the schools surprised me; the whole idea of the importance of process in learning and applying the multiple intelligences to all learning topics
  • How everything is all ready to start; everything addressed, handouts, evaluations
  • Enthusiasm and openness of group members, lovely people
  • Surprised that an apartment rental company (Beacon Communities) doing affordable housing cares about the feelings, souls and connections in their community

What do you want Andrea to know?

  • Acting out activities helped me understand how to actually lead them
  • Very smooth training, relaxed and flexible incorporating all the theories
  • I want you to know just how very impressed I am with the comprehensiveness and attention to detail there is in this Bridges curriculum “Our Smarts”!
  • I enjoyed the training and loved the participation piece and meeting people of all ages (our ten attendees ranged from their early 20s to the mid-70s)
  • You are an inspiration!
  • This program is so innovative and mind-blowing that I wish it could be implemented everywhere – companies, schools, the government, the world  (okay – that could be difficult!)
  • Your organization is wondrous

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