Trainings

Step 1: When you opt to be trained by Bridges Together, your first step is choosing a focus area.

A Bridges Program training in Arlington, MA.

What type of group will you be working with? Bridges Together offers a variety of trainings supporting intergenerational living within communities, schools, corporations and families. Please pick one of the following focus areas:

Best Intergenerational Practices (Best Suited for Communities/Municipalities)

  • Best Intergenerational Practices provides thorough training on the components of a strong IG initiative, including the Intergenerational Field, Volunteer Management, and Education.

Bridges Packaged Program (Best Suited for Schools)

  • The Bridges Program is designed to unite youth (from PreK through college) with older adults.

Multigenerational Workplace (Best Suited for Corporations)

  • The Multigenerational Workplace focus area will provide your constituents with the tools for finding common ground with multiple generations represented in the workforce.

Grandparents (Best Suited for Organizations with Constituents Who Want to Apply Trainings to Their Families)

  • The Grandparent focus area provides training and tools for nurturing the grandparent/grandchild relationship.

Step 2: Once you have your focus area, select how you would like your training delivered.

Bridges Together works with each client to decide which style of training would be best for them, based on a number of factors including topic, location, people being trained. Each training is customized to meet the exact needs of the client.

  1. Leadership Team Development

The premium option to develop a team to unite generations with expert support over 6 months.

Included is:

  • a webinar for your team
  • a 6-hour on-site workshop (with a focus on team-building and manuals)
  • 6 remote coaching sessions to be held monthly after the workshop has been completed.
  1. Workshop for Individuals

The right choice if you want to elevate the intergenerational cause and promote your organization by bringing together individuals from your community or network.

Included is:

  • a 6-hour workshop (includes manuals for everyone and lunch). Attendees will begin to design a plan for their own organizations, but there is no follow-up support.
  1. Custom How-To Guides: Development and Release for Your Audience

The right choice if you want to disseminate information to help your constituents effectively support or educate those gathered while maximizing their time.

Included is:

  • a 15-minute webinar to be prepared by BT or another subject matter expert
  • a How-To Guide that you may disseminate and include on BT’s website or portal
  1. Guest Lectures

Whether live or virtual, BT will provide information on relevant best practices and important human development theories in a dynamic, interactive manner. People will leave with both vision and practical tips that keep them pondering and lead to uniting generations.

Contact us today at Info@BridgesTogether.org or 978.793.9650 if you are interested in discussing your needs and/or receiving a custom training proposal.

Trainings: Best Intergenerational Practices

Training for Barnstable’s Community-Wide Intergenerational Leadership Team

Many communities want to increase the number and nature of intergenerational initiatives. This service offers communities a step-by-step process, as well as professional support, for creating a team that will do just that!

The following is included in this opportunity:

  • A full-day workshop on the nuts and bolts of intergenerational programming, resulting in a community-wide intergenerational leadership team (which must include a senior center representative) and the team’s identification of one new intergenerational opportunity it will implement
  • Subsequent regular meetings with Bridges Together intergenerational experts to plan and organize this new initiative
  • Help with publicizing your event/initiative

In 2016-17, this program’s pilot year, four communities participated. Click the links below to learn more about each community’s successes.

For more information, contact us via email or at 978.793.9650.

Ashland

Before: Members of the Ashland Community Intergenerational Leadership Team and After: An Oral CoHistory Project

Andrea Fonte Weaver and Betsy Emberley, President of the Friends of the Ashland Public Library, met the first day of the MetroWest Leadership Academy. Andrea shared about the grant opportunity for a Community Intergenerational Leadership Team training on a Friday afternoon. By Tuesday of the following week, Betsy had enlisted Kim Kotob of the Ashland Elder Services and submitted letters of support for the grant. They convened a Leadership Team that included members of:

At the day-long training, the group decided to divide into two teams to initiate multiple programs.

Ashland’s pollinator garden project in action!

One team, led by the recreation director and garden club members, planned for a six-session Pollinator Garden for preschoolers and older gardeners. Using the Recipe for Intergenerational Success, themes for the sessions were chosen with appropriate activities. In conjunction, to try and attract new “adult” members to the garden club, a guest lecture was held at the senior center. What resulted was blossoming raised-garden beds outside the community center – and wonderful relationships between some of Ashland’s oldest and youngest gardeners. A final Garden Party was held with the gardeners, their family members and distinguished guests including the town manager. They plan to continue the program this year.

The second team decided to develop an oral history project to record some of Ashland’s stories. Students from several high school activity clubs, including “Breaking the Barriers,” recorded interviews with older residents. The excitement on the day the interviews took place was electrifying – so many participants realized the commonalities we share as people, regardless of age.

Out of this collaboration came a town-wide World Café in May where pairs of adults and youth facilitated small group discussions about unity and inclusion leading to a series of additional events utilizing the same format and paired table hosts this fall to provide the opportunity to have conversations regarding other important community topics.

“Courageous Conversations” session in Ashland

The Team is continuing to meet to plan more opportunities for intergenerational engagement. Possibilities include holding a second round of interviews with older residents; they are continuing to hold Courageous Conversations on difficult topics such as love, inclusion, and trust. They are also looking into starting a cooking program, putting on a IG concert and as well as implementing a discussion group called “Great Discussions: America’s largest discussion program on world affairs, the list of ideas is long.

Kudos to Ashland for breaking down the barriers between people of different ages and planting seeds of compassion and joy!

 

Barnstable

Before: A day-long training about how to create effective intergenerational initiatives as a team. After: A successful Boston Post Cane Tea Party and Award Ceremony, just one of Barnstable’s IG projects

When we talk about a culture of intergenerational engagement, Barnstable is living it! Examples include:

  • An Intergenerational Memorial Day breakfast where high school students participated in a living history lesson with World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans;
  • Each week throughout the school year, high school students volunteer at the Senior Center to provide technology assistance to older adults;
  • On Flag Day, elementary school students visited the Senior Center for a patriotic musical performance;
  • Students from the local charter school participated in an “Alive Inside” project with our Adult Day Program and created customized playlists for the clients based on their favorite genre of music;
  • A boat-building class between older shipwrights and at-risk high school students;
  • A multigenerational bake-off where one round is a family recipe;
  • The High School Class of 2020 adopting the Senior Center as a service partner for four years – last year’s activities included the students volunteering to wrap holiday gifts and a mannequin challenge;
  • A Youth Commission and Council on Aging that regularly collaborate.

Madeline Noonan, Senior Services Director, had attended a few of Bridges Together’s trainings. Among other things, she was impressed with how the human development theories could be used to guide her interactions with seniors and her programming. She wanted to help build on the wonderful efforts of many facets of her community.

Madeline convened a Leadership Team with members representing:

  • The faculty and students from the high school
  • The Youth Commission
  • Council on Aging
  • Recreation Department
  • Senior Services Division

Barnstable’s Community IG Leadership Team even included high school students!

The day-long training and follow-up coaching was helpful for this active community because it instilled in all participants the importance of intergenerational programming to the overall health and vitality of our community and fostered a spirit of collaboration and ongoing commitment to the future development of programs that bring together the younger and older generations to build mutual respect and friendship.

The Team began planning for several programs which may come to fruition in time including a gardening project and one book, one community program. In the spring, they did hold a Tea for residents over the age of 90 and their guests. High schoolers prepared questions for each table, greeted the guests, facilitated & co-hosted the tables and provided musical entertainment. There was a ceremony awarding the Boston Post Cane to the oldest resident. Local cablevision created this show about the event and Madeline created a presentation about the Community Intergenerational Leadership Team program.

Congratulations to Barnstable – an intergenerationally-minded community! (Click here to view Barnstable’s final presentation.)

South Hadley

Before: Members of the South Hadley Community Intergenerational Leadership Team and After: A Veterans’ Recognition Breakfast

When Leslie Hennessey began her position as South Hadley’s new senior center director, she was eager to help forge intergenerational relationships in her community. Thanks to Bridges Together, she convened a Community Intergenerational Leadership Team comprised of the following individuals:

After learning about the scope of intergenerational engagement during Bridges Together’s Step by Step workshop, the team decided to focus efforts on veterans and high school students.

The first program was a breakfast for veterans and their guests. High school students prepared the food, greeted the honorees and provided musical entertainment. Members of the Leadership Team led a short program/ service which included a ceremony where they and students pinned the veterans. They hoped that about 20 veterans would come. Dream big! About 100 attended! Highlights included students talking with veterans and seeing the scrapbook of a World War II Veteran, as well as a tribute to graduating high school seniors who were enlisting. Powerful stuff!

A poignant moment during the Veterans’ Recognition Breakfast

Read a newspaper article here and check out their summary of this process.

Learning the nuts and bolts of effective intergenerational programs, the team expanded their efforts to include:

  • Older people going into history classes to share first hand accounts
  • Students going to the senior center to do technology tutoring
  • A “Stuff the Bus” event where older community members filled a bus with school supplies for low-income students
  • The Bridges program in the 4th grade
  • Inviting Andrea Fonte Weaver to be a guest speaker at the American International College

We talk about the importance of convening a leadership team committed to intergenerational engagement – which begins with one program and expands to create a culture of age-integration. South Hadley is doing an exemplary job (click here to see the teams final presentation)! Go South Hadley!

 

West Boylston

Early in her position as senior center director, Lisa Clark-Viklund attended a morning workshop by Andrea Fonte Weaver on intergenerational engagement. She was hooked! But her efforts to engage others often led to frustration. When the Community Intergenerational Leadership Team grants were announced, Lisa decided to apply. She convened a team with members representing:

They had heard about a program in a nearby town that piqued their interest: an initiative where older adults served as greeters in the high school, helping to connect with students who were feeling isolated. How could West Boylston build upon this idea?

During the full-day training – one component of the Community IG Leadership Team grant – community members learned about the best practices of intergenerational engagement including volunteer management. This training provided the backbone on which the team could build out their program. The outcome? A hugely successful greeting program! West Boylston Public Access Television highlighted the program..

Click here to view the West Boylston Community Intergenerational Leadership PowerPoint summary of their project.

This year the team plans to continue the greeter program and hopes to expand on intergenerational connections.

Congratulations to West Boylston on enlisting older people to make the community more friendly for people of all ages!

 

Trainings: Bridges Packages

“I really love how every lesson was created with the standards that we already teach in mind! It makes the resources useful, connected to what they’re already learning and almost an organic enrichment of what we’re already doing in classrooms. So excited to start!” — A teacher

The Bridges Program Curricula suite is a ready-made, off-the-shelf set of four programs (preschool/early readers, elementary school, middle school and high school) designed to unite youth and older adults.

The four programs of the Bridges Program Curricula Suite are:

The basis of a Bridges program is always a partnership between a youth organization and a senior organization. This is usually a school and a senior center, but Bridges programs have also run in libraries, community centers, afterschool programs and senior housing. An intergenerational leadership team – comprised of representatives from a youth organization such as a school and a senior organization – join together to implement the program.

The Bridges program is a solution for communities looking for a proven and award-winning way to unite generations. The purchase of each Bridges program includes approximately six hours of training for you and your colleagues to ensure you have the insights and basic tools to begin implementation of a successful IG program in your own community.

The Bridges Program Curricula Suite, designated a Program of Distinction by national organization Generations United, empowers generations.

Each of the four curricula is:

  • Based on human development theories and best practices from the field (Read more about the theories behind Bridges Together’s work here.)
  • Designed to spark meaningful conversation between both groups
  • Built around theme-based small group work

In addition, all four currricula:

  • Include interview and reflection questions at home and during the sessions
  • Reinforce the theme via educational activities and group projects
  • Support Common Core Standards

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Bridges: Our Stories for Early Readers

“Many of our students have had to leave their extended family behind in their native countries. As they worked on shared, hands-on projects, the senior volunteers told stories and listened to students’ stories and provided the gift of loving friendship and acceptance that grandparents and special elders offer in a child’s life.”

Bridges: Our Stories at Central Michigan University

In Bridges: Our Stories, picture books provide the theme for each session. Components of each session typically include:

  • a movement activity;
  • interactive book discussion;
  • sharing family stories; and
  • a related art project.

Participants will:

  • experience how a book can ‘come to life’;
  • learn about their family histories; and
  • enjoy ‘classic’ activities such as making newspaper hats and playing musical chairs.

Learning and building together during Bridges: Our Stories

Specific books, along with their themes, include:

  • The Story of Ferdinand (by Munro Leaf, Drawings by Robert Lawson) with the theme of each person is special;
  • Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel (by Virginia Lee Burton) with the theme that each of us works hard to accomplish a goal;
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (by Judith Viorst) with the theme that sometimes we experience difficult days but we also have wonderful days;
  • A Chair for My Mother (by Vera B. Williams) with the theme of saving money and also there are always ‘helpers’ should a crisis occur;
  • Miss Rumphius (by Barbara Cooney) with the theme that each of us can make the world a more beautiful place;
  • A Wonderful World (by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, Illustrated by Ashley Bryan) with the theme of identifying the wonderful things in our world;
  • The Family Tree (by David McPhail) with the theme of exploring our family trees and favorite trees.

For more information, contact us our Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw via email or at 978.793.9509.

Bridges: Growing Together for Grades 3-6

“I feel very fortunate that our school is a part of this program. We do a phenomenal job connecting with our community. However, this experience is unique. Not many students get an opportunity like this, so I am thrilled to see it play out!”

Bridges: Growing Together in Berkeley, CA

In Bridges: Growing Together, participants explore different aspects of their own life stories along with those of their families and the greater community through:

  • interactive discussions
  • a variety of projects utilizing the different multiple intelligences, including: creating graphic organizers, drawing and music.

Favorite activities include sharing about an heirloom, a student-led tour of the school and/or community center and teaching about a favorite topic.

Participants will:

  • learn about their family histories
  • have the opportunity to lead and teach
  • discuss changes in our world over time, such as the way we celebrate holidays
  • recognize the way people are the same and different regardless of our ages

A quilt created by Bridges: Growing Together students for their older adult volunteers

Session titles include:

  • Learning About Older Adults
  • Getting to Know You
  • Schools Then & Now
  • Ethnicities, Heirlooms and Traditions
  • Learning from Each Other
  • Introduction to The Multiple Intelligence “Smarts” Theory
  • How Old is Old?
  • Celebrations

For more information, contact our Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw via email or at 978.793.9509.

Bridges: Our Smarts for Grades 6-8

“If I did not have this program, I would not be able to work with seniors like I do now. If I go somewhere with a lot of seniors like where my grandmother and grandfather live, I will now be more comfortable there.”

Making models of others’ hands in Bridges: Our Smarts

In Bridges: Our Smarts, tweens and teens and older adult volunteers will explore Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences “How We Are Smart” Theory using different aspects of nature as the theme for each session.

The multiple intelligence theory states that people have eight different types of intelligences, or “smarts”: body, logic, music, nature, people, picture, self, and word.  This theory and how we use our smarts will come alive through:

  • hands-on art, music, and science projects
  • interactive discussions
  • a variety of nature activities

Participants will:

  • recognize how they are smart and how their ‘intelligences’ can shape their hobbies, careers, and volunteerism
  • learn about their family histories and cultivate the character trait of resilience
  • Increase their knowledge of nature and nutrition

Sessions include:

  • learning about our smarts (assessment – logic and picture smarts)
  • family and favorite trees (visual art project – picture smarts)
  • seasons (taking a walk outside and writing poetry – body, nature, and word smarts)
  • resilience (creating a movement to music – body, music, and nature smarts)
  • using our hands (hand sculptures – body and picture smarts)
  • field trip to a farm (nature smarts)
  • rainbow plates (planning healthful meals – logic smarts)
  • our garden (planting a tree or garden – body, logic, and nature smarts)
  • using our smarts (in our free time, careers and communities – logic, people, and self smarts)
  • celebrating our smarts (party – people smarts)

With all of the lessons, participants interview loved ones at home and share historic and personal highlights in the sessions (people smarts).

For more information, contact Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw via email or at 978.793.9509.

Bridges: Lifelong Journeys for High School & College

“I’m getting as much out of this as the kids are! I think all the seniors loved the lesson on resilience. We know we are resilient because of where we are on life’s journey, but the lesson allowed us to reflect on what events brought about our resilience.”

Bridges: Lifelong Journeys at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School

In Bridges: Lifelong Journeys, high school students and older adult volunteers delve into topics that are pertinent across the lifespan. Participants develop skills to make the journey easier and more enjoyable, learning from each other while having fun.

Topics include:

  • recognizing one’s culture
  • understanding the lifespan
  • managing finances
  • using technology responsibly and more.

Participants will:

  • Learn useful tips about recognizing one’s gifts and how they apply to career decisions
  • Recognize that life is a long journey and that companions and skills do make a difference
  • Discover qualities of resilient people and how to implement healthy coping skills for when they hit bumps in the road

Session titles include:

  • Financing Life’s Journey
  • A Backpack of Skills: Recognizing our Multiple Intelligences
  • Getting Over that Hurdle with Resilience
  • Dying and Death and Living

For more information, contact our Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw via email or at 978.793.9509.

Grant Opportunities

Funding is often available to help pay for the Bridges program. Currently, here is one funding mechanism that covers the cost of training and implementing the program:

Bridges Together is happy to provide other funding ideas, if needed. Please contact Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw via email or at 978.793.9509 for more information.

Trainings: Grandparent & Extended Family

Grandparents: Nurturing Relationships with Grandkids

For centuries, the bond between the oldest and youngest members of families was a given construct and a respected relationship. Today, the demands of contemporary culture – from cell phones and social media to afterschool activities and school pressures – can weaken these bonds. Join us to learn more about societal changes and how to approach them with a spirit of empowerment rather than fear. Get your questions answered. Learn about strategies to strengthen these bonds – regardless of whether your grandchildren are newborns, in school, or launching careers.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the different developmental goals of grandchildren
  • Assuring cultural continuity
  • Engaging with grandkids – near and far, young and “old”
  • Using technology safely and effectively

Contact us today at Info@BridgesTogether.org or 978.793.9650 if you are interested in discussing your needs and/or receiving a custom training proposal.

Trainings: Multigenerational Workforce

Do you want to…Engage in a frank discussion of the strengths and challenges of generational differences? See each person in your workplace through new lenses? Create a plan to unite generations?

The individuals that comprise your work force are from many different life experiences. Understanding the unique experiences of these individuals can make the workplace environment more productive. During our one-day, onsite meeting, we will take a in-depth look at each generation to allow all employees to better understand each other

Contact us today at Info@BridgesTogether.org or 978.793.9650 if you would like to learn more about scheduling a Multigenerational Workforce training for your company.

If You're an Educator...


If You Work with Older Adults...

Bring Bridges to Your Center!

Use the Bridges or a custom program for your senior center. You can also join our membership, attend an event and more!


If You're a Grandparent or Parent.....

Bring Bridges To Your Home!

Integrate IG activities into your household using our printable Springboards. Join our membership to get monthly activities!