Sunday, November 03, 2013

Beginning an Intergenerational Project

In this day and age, the gap between the younger and older  generation is widening.Technology and customs are changing so quickly that it is making it harder and harder to relate. Doing an intergenerational project is a great way for the two generations to bond and relate a little more.

1. Decide who will participate. Is there a likely connection between older adults and youth in your community? For example, a group of older people in your church and a church youth group. OR seniors living in assisted living and the high school National Honor Society.

2. Define the scope of the project. Will this be a short term or more long term program? One session or multiple times of meeting together? Keep it simple at first. Not too many participants (maybe 5-6 of each age group) and just meet together 1-2 times to see how it goes.

3. Determine the resources you need. Storyboards are a wonderful idea and so are Story Cards that get people talking about things they don't normally discuss. Computer projects or memory journals can also be great tools for capturing the life stories of older adults. Maybe the older adults can capture the life stories of the youth too! It can be a two-way street.

4. Connect. Once you have a plan--go for it! Don't worry that everything has to be perfect, but try your best to break the ice and bring older adults and youth together comfortably. An opening fun introduction or some kind of food shared will help people start to talk before they jump into the oral history project.

5. Evaluate. Make sure you survey your first participants and learn from the experience. Then you can incorporate this knowledge into your growing program...and see great success!

Lifebio.com has great resources to help you make this more fun and easier. Try it out!