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FYI- Best Intergenerational Community Awards

Best Intergenerational Community Awards

Generations United and MetLife Foundation will recognize up to 5 communities with the first-ever Best Intergenerational Communities Awards. Generations United is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies.  You can find out more about them at www.gu.org. MetLife Foundation is the charitable arm of MetLife and makes grants in health, education, civic affairs and culture.

Generations United and MetLife will select communities based on standard criteria that take into account a community’s own demographics, services, programs and organizational structure. Communities will be recognized for their specific intergenerational successes and will not be compared to other applicants. The winning communities will be awarded with a public recognition event in Washington, DC including visits with members of Congress, national and local media exposure, a profile on Generations United’s website, publicity through Generations United’s social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter), and recognition at the 2013 Generations United International Conference. The winners will also receive an award logo for us on websites and other materials and a physical award to recognize the accomplishment. Technical assistance on intergenerational practice and advocacy with Generations United will be available to the award recipients.

An intergenerational community is not just one where multiple generations reside. It is one where individuals of all ages are an integral and valued part of the setting. They have provided the following definitions as guidance:

“Communities” refers to geographic areas with defined borders and resident populations for which reliable demographic data is available. This could mean metropolitan areas, cities, towns, counties, zip   codes, neighborhoods and school districts. Individual organizations or living/care facilities are not alone  eligible for this recognition.

“Intergenerational communities” refers to place that (1) provide adequately for safety, health,   education and the basic necessities of life, (2) promote programs, policies, and practices that increase  cooperation, interaction, and exchange between people of different generations, and (3) enables all ages to share their talents and resources, and support each other in relationships that benefit both individuals and their community.

Generations United and MetLife Foundation are looking for this perspective to be reflected in the families, structures, facilities and services that children and older adults encounter in the community as well as in day-to-day interactions and relationships. Partnerships between local government, senior citizen homes, schools, businesses, local cultural and community organizations and services, families, older adults and children are essential to be considered intergenerational. An intergenerational community builds on the positive resources that each generation has to offer to each other and those around them. It also advances policies and practices that both acknowledge and promote intergenerational interdependence.

Who is eligible to apply? Communities that meet the above description. The application may be completed by any community member but must be completed in coordination with a local official (i.e. government official, Neighborhood Association President, County Executive, etc) and must be verified and signed by the official.

Application deadline is January 31, 2012, late submissions will not be considered. Applications and letters of support should be emailed to gu@gu.org

Applications will be reviewed in February by an expert panel who will be evaluating applications based on pre-determined criteria. Successful applicants will be notified later in February. The public recognition event will take place in Washington DC in March 2012.

For more information and to download the application visit: http://www2.gu.org/OURWORK/Programs/BestIntergenerationalCommunitiesAwards.aspx

Shared Sites

At NJFA’s June 10th Conference, Donna Butts from Generations United presented a keynote on Shared Sites, serving diverse groups. Shared Sites are defined as “programs where older adults and young people receive services at the same site and both generations interact during regularly scheduled intergenerational activities.” Generations United refers to these centers as, “Intergenerational Shared Sites”. NJFA thought this was a timely topic as the use of space for intergenerational services is also a cost savings for many municipalities that are facing tight budgets.

Donna stated that Generations United feels the needs of children, youth and older adults can be meet and improved by sharing resources through shared sites. Intergenerational services also address the social implications of an increasingly age-segregated society. Some of the benefits of shared sites:

  • enhance quality of life for all participants
  • provides needed services to the community
  • increases cost savings & opportunities to share resources
  • enhances employee benefits for programs with on-site care (day)
  • attracts additional funding & positive public relations
  • improves attitudes about different age groups

Generations United also notes that children benefit from interpersonal relationships with persons from a different age group and report that they have “higher personal/social development scores than preschool children involved in non-intergenerational programs.” Likewise, studies show that seniors involved in intergenerational programs have positive health gains. Some of the services that may be included in a shared site are: childcare center, before/after school programs, early childhood programs, schools, youth recreation programs, camps, adult day services, assisted living/residential care settings, senior centers, and community recreation programs. Some examples include; Adult day program and child care program in same site, senior center located in a public school, after school programs held at a senior center or community/multigenerational center with programs for both generations.

In the powerpoint presentation that Donna shared in the breakout session at the conference, she highlighted the value of shared sites, including:

  • Best opportunity to build relationships and share resources between generations
  • Physical and financial resources used most effectively, maximizes grant investments
  • Significant local public and private appeal
  • A strong sense of place, create community focal points for service delivery
  • Incubators for new program development
  • Improves sustainability of programs

Donna’s keynote presentation was very motivating, feedback from attendees was positive and many attendees stated that they found her remarks inspirational. During the presentation, Donna gave many examples and talked about successful programs, also noting how to create a successful program. NJFA would like to again thank Donna Butts for joining us at the conference and providing such valuable information to all who attended.

For more information about Shared Sites or Generations United visit their website: