By Duncan Magidson

A total of 21 scrappy and creative folks have won $250 grants to underwrite intergenerational projects inspired by CEO Marc Freedman’s new book, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations.

Meet all our winners below — and please feel free to adapt or adopt their ideas in your own community today!


Meet the winners:

Denver Intergenerational Refugee Zoo Project
Submitted by Brandy Kramer
Denver, CO

The Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning will bring children age 0-4 together with Iraqi, Bhutanese and Burmese refugees from an adult day care center together for two activities. The groups will visit a zoo where the seniors will teach children the names of animals in their native languages. They will then collaborate on a picture book using photos from the zoo trip.

Submitted by Courtney Watkins
Columbus, IN

The Mill Race Center will pair people over 50 with kids age 8-12 from the Boys and Girls Club to meet once a week throughout the summer and discuss how to develop healthy lifestyles.

Project G.R.A.P.E.
Submitted by Eric Williams

Atlanta, GA

Project G.R.A.P.E. will bring together kids and older adults to learn how to grow produce in home gardens, with a goal of ending child hunger in Atlanta.

Girls on the Run
Submitted by Penny Luthens
Des Moines, IA

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines will host a program using older volunteer coaches to teach life skills to kids ages 8-12 through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement. The program culminates with a noncompetitive 5k run with other Girls on the Run chapters in the area.

Texoma Senior Corps – RSVP
Submitted by Virginia Rhodes
Texoma, TX

Volunteers over 55 will hold classes in the community to teach children from the Boys and Girls Club to help crochet and knit items for those in need.

Classroom Plants
Submitted by Marilyn Kaple
Summerville, SC

Women from a local garden club will work with middle schoolers to plant native South Carolina perennials that support bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, providing botany lessons and decorations for classes that use the outdoor space.

St. Andrew’s Community Garden Project
Submitted by Anna Spiers

Colorado Springs, CO

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs will create a community garden to bring generations together. Kids and adults working together to grow plants will help provide free flowers and vegetables for older adults in the community.


Previous Winners

Grandparents & Teens Rising Against Hunger
Submitted by Helen Kosoff
Burlington, NJ

Grandparents and Teens Rising Against Hunger — a collaboration between retirees and ninth graders in Burlington, New Jersey — will host a meal-packing event on Global Youth Service Day. The community-wide event will package 862 meals for vulnerable people around the world.

Let’s Do Lunch 
Submitted by Leigh Ann Wilbur
Topeka, KS

A cafeteria worker in Topeka will invite residents of a local senior center to her elementary school for lunch with students. Each month, a different grade will get the chance to share lunch with older adults in the community.

A Place Called Home Community Clean-Up
Submitted by Abram Castaneda

Pomona, CA

Intergenerational teams will participate in a community clean-up and scavenger hunt in Southern California. Featuring local history and icebreakers to help promote intergenerational friendships, kids and adults will work together to clean up trash and beautify the community garden.

The First Chardon Hills Magnet Elementary School Comic-Con
Submitted by Ross Jones
Cleveland, OH

The AARP Experience Corps tutoring program at Chardon Hills Magnet Elementary School will host a mini, intergenerational Comic-Con for kids in grades K-3. With a focus on fun, costumes and reading comic books with kids, the older Corps members will pass along the “superpower” of reading.

Stonewall: Generations
Submitted by Patti Martinson
Black Hills, SD

The Black Hills Center for Equality in South Dakota will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by hosting an evening of conversation between members of the Stonewall generation and young activists.

MawMaw, Help me boil this egg!
Submitted by Gloria Robinson-Wiggins
Pensacola, FL

Gloria Robinson-Wiggins will gather a group of older adults who are eager to pass along their culinary knowledge to children. These cooking classes will help develop connections, promote kindness and build useful, everyday skills.

Dominican Volunteers USA
Submitted by Megan Rupp

San Francisco, CA and Chicago, IL

Dominican Volunteers, typically in their 20s, share life — meals, prayers, chores, leisure activities, reflection, intentional time, and study — with Dominican Sisters. The How To Live Forever Fund will help support this intergenerational program to share wisdom, build friendships, and join forces to fight poverty and injustice.

J.O.B.I.E.S. (Juveniles Obtaining Better Interests for Every Stingray)
Submitted by Ava and Riley

Greenville, NC

Two 13-year-olds will combine forces with residents at a nearby senior community to discuss the dangers of litter and debris in local waterways and come up with solutions. The teens will lead a project to repurpose non-recyclable tennis ball cans into reusable containers for fisherman to store monofilament fishing line and other debris.

Lasell College – Lasell Village
Submitted by Joann Montepare

Auburndale, MA

As part of its global Age-Friendly University Initiative, Lasell College will engage older adults as “language mentors” for international students, providing an opportunity for two groups who often face social stigma to build connections.

EAH Housing Crescent Park
Submitted by
Cristina Diaz Chavez
Richmond, CA

Older and younger residents in a low-income community in Richmond, California, will gather to share their passion for gardening, adding new plants, crops and decorations.

Submitted by Elizabeth Bruce

Takoma Park, MD

Drawing on intergenerational projects CentroNía led in Ghana, the organization will teach basic first aid and medical skills to families, including children, parents and grandparents, to explore the real life causes and effects of illness. The workshop will be conducted in three languages: English, Spanish, & Amharic.

Plymouth YMCA Youth Volunteer Corps
Submitted by Taylor Tinsley

Plymouth, MI

The Intergenerational Olympics will pair youth aged 11 to 18 with with older adults at a senior living community to compete in activities including wii bowling, beach ball volleyball, bean bag toss, badminton, javelin throw using broomsticks, shuffleboard, and trivia. There will be prizes!

North Coast Opportunities Volunteer Network
Submitted by
Rebecca Enberg
Ukiah, CA

The North Coast Opportunities Volunteer network will host a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training for 200 volunteers throughout five Northern California counties — Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Humboldt, and Del Norte. These volunteers serve youth as mentors and in classroom settings, young-parent programs and juvenile hall.

Grandpas United of White Plains, NY
Submitted by
 Jim Isenberg
White Plains, NY

Members of Grandpas United will work with the White Plains public school system mentor a group of second and third grade boys who are struggling to succeed in school.