It’s February, so let’s spread the love! At Bridges Together, we talk about our community and supporters as our “circle of love.” Because we like to spotlight people who support and love BT and believe in our mission, read on to find out more about Beth Almeida, who serves as the Treasurer for BT’s Board of Trustees. Beth is a principal researcher with the Center for Aging at the American Institutes for Research.
How did you first connect with Bridges Together?
I learned about BT through (BT Associate Director) Debbie Howell who is a longtime family friend. I learned about Debbie’s work at BT through the intergenerational preschool my kids attend, which shares a campus with an assisted living/skilled nursing facility.
What do you think makes BT a unique organization?
BT is unique in that it is a “one stop shop” for all things intergenerational: If you are looking for curriculum, professional development, information, resources – it’s all here. The other thing that makes BT unique is that while they provide “turnkey” programs, local communities can and really do take ownership of the programs they launch with BT’s help. (You can read about two great examples right here.) I think that’s why BT has been so successful – this organization is all about helping others succeed in building intergenerational programs!
Do you have any special intergenerational stories or relationships in your own background?
Not only did my kids attend the intergenerational preschool I described above, but my mom also lived at the facility, so I got the opportunity to see up close how the intergenerational programs they offer benefited all of us, across the lifespan. My kids made new friendships with folks they would not have otherwise ever met and along the way learned more about compassion, patience and acceptance than I could ever teach them, or than they could learn in a “regular” preschool environment. At the same time, my mom and her neighbors were able to remain connected to the joy, energy and spontaneity that small kids can bring, in a setting that too often lacks all those things. And for me, well, I just felt blessed that the most important people in my life were able to stay connected with one another and make new connections with others thanks to the magic of a thoughtful, well-implemented intergenerational program.