AGE to AGE links children and youth with older adults to build friendships and work together toward community improvement. This grassroots intergenerational initiative has created a new pathway to bring people 55 and older together with children and youth, as well as the generations-in-between. This pathway previously did not exist in the 13 participating communities and has thus made a difference in creating new partnerships and addressing community needs.
Northland Foundation, a regional foundation serving northeastern Minnesota, USA
STARTED: Launched 2009
Each participating community engages in an intentional organizing, planning, and implementation process that leads to locally-driven intergenerational initiatives that improve the wellbeing of children, youth, and older adults, and help make their town a great place for growing up and growing older. A Regional Learning Community provides peer networking, training and information-sharing opportunities for representatives from participating sites on a regular basis. On the community level, each participating site has a coordinator and a multigenerational team to support planning and implementation of locally-driven activities generations-in-between, in each defined local community.
A team of older adults and young people, along with the generations-in-between, in each defined local community.
The 13 participating communities have learned that they can play pivotal roles in facilitating cross-generational exchanges that benefit both young people and older adults and at the same time address significant community needs. This initiative provides an avenue for different generations to overcome age stereotypes, establish friendships, and pool their strengths for civic good. Young people involved in AGE to AGE report the initiative has helped them do better in school, feel more connected to their communities, increase their self-confidence, improve their leadership skills, and develop important mentoring relationships with older adult role models. AGE to AGE has also had a positive effect on the lives of older adults who report feeling healthier—physically and emotionally— because of their active engagement with youth and community. It has also helped older adults have a renewed sense of purpose and provided new leadership opportunities. AGE to AGE merged the energies of 2,800 young people 5 to 18, 1,800 older adults (55 and older), and 1,400 adults 19-54 in the ten original northeastern Minnesota communities (including 3 American Indian reservations).
Technical assistance and management from two foundation leaders with support staff. Stipends for local coordinators.
A lessons learned publication and a program summary brochure are available at www.northlandfdn.org/kids-plus/AGE-to-age.shtml.
Seed funding from the Community Experience Partnership, an initiative for U.S. community foundations from The Atlantic Philanthropies – www.ceplearning.org was provided for a three-year period (2009-2012) matched with additional funding provided by the Northland Foundation and other local, state, and national partners. Since then, the Northland Foundation has raised additional funding to support the expansion of AGE to AGE. On a community level, participating sites work to generate additional local support from a variety of sources, both cash and in-kind, for their intergenerational initiatives.
Each community participates in a process to: 1) identify local needs; 2) hold an intergenerational community dialogue; 3) create a vision statement; 4) brainstorm, plan and implement activities and projects that bringing people of different ages together and enhance their community; and 6) keep the energy and momentum moving forward to tap the underutilized social capital of older adults and young people.
Viral promotion through advisors, participating communities, national Community Experience Partnership, and Northland Foundation materials
POLICIES FOR REPLICATING:
The Northland Foundation will share information to assist with the replication and adaptation of AGE to AGE upon request. Information about the program model is available at www.northlandfdn.org/kids-plus/AGE-to-age.shtml. Users are asked to respect copyright and provide feedback on use of the program.
Please complete our online Program User Form if you are interested in trying out this program and need more information. You will be contacted shortly by a member of the Pass It On Network team after you submit the completed form.