I woke up on November 9th with an enormous sense of urgency: urgency to act, to connect with others, to lift up wise and powerful voices, to heal historic divides, to leverage the assets of the multigenerational, multicultural country we share. I learned a lot of what I know about the urgency of social justice and bridging divides through my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents, who’ve been involved in civil rights, the labor movement and other social-justice issues. These generations of activists inspired, supported and mentored me and many other younger people; they are one important reason why I believe so deeply in justice and the power of cross-generational connection.
One of the ways in which I seek to bridge divides is through my new role in Encore.org’s five-year Generation to Generation campaign, which aims to mobilize a million adults 50+ to help young people thrive. My part in the campaign is leading the Generation to Generation Learning Lab, which includes six entrepreneurial organizations that are part of large, national youth-serving networks and four trailblazing local communities, committed to creating “intergenerational impact zones.” We are bringing these organizations together with communities that are eager to expand opportunities for older adults to help create positive, equitable outcomes for children. The strategies and best-practices in development by the network partners and other pioneers in the intergenerational field have the potential to be spread quickly throughout the partners’ networks and adopted by many other cities and towns.
My understanding of intergenerational practice and lifelong civic engagement has also been informed through my prior work with The Intergenerational Center at Temple University. I know from working with communities around the country that use an intergenerational lens to address critical community concerns that there are no shortage of highly successful intergenerational programs with lots of evidence supporting benefits for old and young alike. As we embark on this journey, we want to learn from work already in progress:
- What programs do you know about that have successfully engaged racially and ethnically diverse older adults to help youth thrive?
- What intergenerational efforts, large or small, have intentionally (or organically) partnered with adults 50+ to help achieve positive, equitable outcomes for youth?
- Who are the experts in the field, young and old alike, whom we should be learning from?
This blog is a platform to share our questions, our learning, our challenges, our bright spots and our breakthroughs. As we embark on this process together, we warmly welcome learnings and insights from your own work that can inform this campaign and this movement.
Please send us your comments and questions.
Learning Lab Director