Thanks to the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Bridges Together is pleased to be able to offer its services to five communities to create Community-Wide Intergenerational (IG) Leadership Teams.
What does Community-Wide Intergenerational Leadership Team Mean? “Intergenerational” is a hot topic, and many communities are hoping to initiate IG events or increase already-existing IG efforts. This grant offers communities a step-by-step process, as well as professional support, for creating a team that will do just that!
So far, Bridges Together has met with community leaders in South Hadley, Ashland and West Boylston. We are thrilled to see how different community entities are uniting to create events for all in their communities. At Bridges Together, we believe that effective intergenerational programming is imperative for a healthy society, so stay tuned as we follow these communities (plus other grant recipients that have yet to start their projects). Here is a recap of what’s in the works so far:
Earlier in December, Bridges Together Founder and Executive Director Andrea J. Fonte Weaver traveled to the South Hadley Council on Aging to facilitate the first full-day training for recipients of the Community-Wide IG Leadership Team Grant, comprised of representatives from the South Hadley COA, South Hadley Public Schools, Friends of South Hadley Elderly, the South Hadley Public Library and South Hadley VFW Post 3104. As a result of this workshop, these organizations are planning an event: A World War I encampment on school grounds.
We saw the fruits of this community-wide collaboration go beyond the prescribed project for the grant when Andrea received an email from a representative from the South Hadley VFW inviting the rest of the IG Leadership Team as well as Bridges Together and others to a special event where the children are “guests of honor,” known as the Red Hat Brigade. (All the children get red hats to wear!) All participants will then place wreaths at the Agawam Veterans Cemetery.
This is what it’s all about: Unifying a community around events that everyone benefits and learns from!
Last week, Andrea spent the day at the Ashland Community Center leading a full-day training for the its Community-Wide Intergenerational Leadership Team, comprised of representatives from Ashland Elder Services, Friends of the Ashland Public Library, Ashland Public Schools, Youth and Family Services, Ashland Recreation Department, Ashland Historical Society, Decisions at Every Turn, Ashland Farmers Market, Arts! Ashland Alliance, Ashland Lions Club, Ashland High School, Ashland Garden Club, Ashland BNI, Ashland Business Association and Ashland Center for Entrepreneurship.
As a result of this workshop, these organizations are planning two events: The Ashland Garden Club is partnering with a preschool and the Recreation Department to create a pollinator garden, and the Historical Society is partnering with Youth and Family Services and Decisions at Every Turn to work on an oral history project with adults aged 80+ and youth from the middle and high schools.
Also last week, Andrea and Bridges Together’s Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw spent the day at the West Boylston Council on Aging with representatives from the West Boylston Historical Society, West Boylston Middle and High School and West Boylston Public Access Television.
West Boylston, too, has some exciting plans. The community is looking forward to creating a senior greeter program at the middle and high schools, which share a building. In addition, the middle school plans to create a story project for 6th graders as part of their ELA class.