From the Field: A Week in the Life of BT from Quincy to South Hadley to Boston University

Veterans’ Recognition Breakfast in South Hadley

While the Bridges Program Curricula Suite might be Bridges Together’s most visible output, did you know that we also help others develop their own intergenerational programming using our tried-and-true “recipe”?

The past week at BT provided a wonderful illustration of just how far-reaching our work is.

On Wednesday, Andrea presented a workshop for Quincy Elder Services for grandparents and how they can nurture bonds with their grandchildren. This workshop has proven to be a popular one, and it all started last year when the Wellesley Senior Center asked Andrea to come and speak specifically on that topic. The workshop includes introducing participants to the whole person development theory, as it pertains to their grandchildren, as well as practical tips for meaningful engagement between these “grand” generations. The grandparents are asked to reflect on an older adult from their own childhood who had an impact on their lives as well as hypothetical questions that they might want to ask their own grandchildren. (If you are interested in bringing Andrea to your community to speak on Grandparents, Grandchildren and How to Nurture These Special Bonds, contact Debbie Howell via email or at 978.793.9650.)

On Thursday, Andrea traveled to South Hadley, a recipient of one of our Community-Wide Intergenerational Leadership Team grants. One result of the training that Bridges Together provided was a Veterans’ Recognition Breakfast, organized by the South Hadley Council on Aging, South Hadley High School, the South Hadley Library and South Hadley VFW Post 3104. You can read a newspaper article about the event here. According to Leslie Hennessey, Director of the South Hadley Council on Aging, one particularly poignant moment occurred when students who are planning to go into the Armed Services were asked to recognize the Veterans by pinning their lapels. One student replied, “Ma’am, what is a lapel?” – demonstrating that we should always be learning as well as teaching! According to Leslie, “The kids were eager and the Veterans were so generous, asking questions like ‘Which branch of service are you going into?’ So proud of our partnership…such great collaboration and use of our individual talents and resources.” To read more about our Community-Wide Intergenerational Leadership Team grants, click here and here.

And then on Friday, Andrea led an Ins & Outs of Planning Your Intergenerational Program at Boston University. One of our researchers, Ernest Gonzales, PhD, invited Andrea to present on the “nuts and bolts” of effective intergenerational programming to social work students. One exciting thing to come out of this session was the discovery that the work of Bridges Together mirrors a well-known study by psychologist Gordon Allport on the four essential social mechanisms to reduce prejudice (“contact hypothesis”). Reducing prejudice between generations is Bridges Together’s aim, and this particular workshop equips people to go out with an idea for a manageable plan that will meaningfully engage all participants. In fact, we have another Ins & Outs workshop planned for Friday, March 10 at the Northborough Senior Center. All are welcome to attend this free event – all you have to do is register right here.

To explore all the ways that Bridges Together helps communities and families build intergenerational bridges, take a look at the Build Your Own Intergenerational Bridges section of our website!

 

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