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
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.)