At NJFA‚Äôs June 10th Conference, Donna Butts from Generations United presented a keynote on Shared Sites, serving diverse groups. Shared Sites are defined as ‚Äúprograms where older adults and young people receive services at the same site and both generations interact during regularly scheduled intergenerational activities.‚Äù Generations United refers to these centers as, ‚ÄúIntergenerational Shared Sites‚Äù. 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 ‚Äúhigher personal/social development scores than preschool children involved in non-intergenerational programs.‚Äù 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‚Äôs 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: