Linking Generations Inter-Generational Programs
Linking Generations was established in 2004 as an intergenerational program that encourages “bridging the gap” between seniors and youth. We are registered as a Non-Profit Society with the Government of Alberta and as Registered Charity with the Government of Canada.
The purpose of our program is to bring the generations together so they can learn from each other, share their life experiences, and to encourage volunteering and social responsibility in youth. This is done through “mentored structured visits”. Students and seniors volunteer their time to visit each week beginning in October and ending in May. Each visit has a specific goal in mind whether that is for the youth to experience the past through the eyes of their senior, for the seniors to learn about current technology and the fast-paced lives the students lead or just to bring joy into each other’s hearts. Our programs match 2 students with one senior. We find there is such interest in our program that seniors continue to come back year-after-year, of course as their heath allows. And, our students normally volunteer through grades 7 – 9 and often again in high school.
Who Will it Benefit?
Linking Generations addresses the need for community connectedness and social responsibility. Our primary social issue is the fact youth and elderly are losing connections with each other. Seniors are being segregated into care facilities in increasing numbers where they feel isolated, lonely and confined. They have less interaction with youth.
As the aging population continues to rise rapidly, age segregation and isolation are on the increase. Intergenerational connections are proven to enrich the lives of both youth and seniors in long-lasting and meaningful ways. In today’s world, many young people are experiencing less interaction with seniors because of homogeneous neighborhoods, dispersed extended families, and increasing segregation of seniors living in care facilities. It is important for today’s youth to find ways to engage and develop relationships with the elderly, as these experiences can build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, and educate as to the benefits of a lifelong commitment to volunteering. For seniors, intergenerational connections provide the opportunity to transfer knowledge and wisdom, acknowledge self worth, and continue to feel as they are contributing members of society.
We hear the most heart-warming stories from the seniors as to how much it means for them to have ‘their kids’ share part of their life. It is something to see the seniors anxiously waiting for their students to arrive. Our program also helps to break down stereotypes – seniors are not really old & boring. They love to have fun and have great sense of humor. And, our community is full of wonderful teenagers – those with kind, caring hearts and interest in helping our community to be a wonderful place to live.