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8
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How to bring older adult volunteers into youth-serving organizations

By Elizabeth Tish

“Every child deserves a web of support, and every older adult has something to give.”

That is the motto of the Generation to Generation (Gen2Gen) campaign, a national effort launched by Encore.org to inspire adults over 50 to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth. By dismantling the age barriers between generations and connecting youth and children to older adults through positive, everyday interactions, Gen2Gen aims to improve the lives of people across the age spectrum: empowering older adults to give back to their communities and rebuilding the villages that raise our children.

As personal testimonies and research point to benefits for kids and older adults alike, intergenerational friendships and interactions present themselves as a path to creating closer-knit and happier communities. In particular, informal learning and childcare programs stand to benefit from an invested, diverse cohort of volunteers—making afterschool programs prime opportunities to bring senior volunteers into the lives of school-age children.

Are you interested in getting involved with the campaign? Here are a few ways get started:

  1. Share your summer moment. We know you’ve been busy with summer programs, and we’re sure you have photographic evidence. If you have pictures of folks volunteering, eating, playing, reading, or working across generations, share them with Gen2Gen. Bonus: entering your photos gives you a chance to win a $500 contribution to a youth-serving organization!
  2. Join the Gen2Gen toolbox on Facebook to find resources, including information on the best ways to involve older adults in your program and leverage the life experiences of older volunteers for your youth-serving organization.
  3. Post your job openings. Do you have a job opening or volunteer opportunity that would be perfect for an older adult? Utilize the Gen2Gen network! For paid positions, post on the Encore.org LinkedIn Group and tag #Gen2GenJob on social media. For volunteer or stipended opportunities, post on the Gen2Gen Opportunity Finder and tag #Gen2GenVolunteer on social media. Gen2Gen will be searching these hashtags weekly and will increase your reach by reposting to their social platforms!
  4. Vote for the winner of the Encore Prize. Fifteen exemplary multigenerational programs are up for two $50,000 prizes, with voting from August 8 to 31, 2017. Read the innovative solutions youth-serving organizations developing with the help of  older adult volunteers—finding plenty of inspiration for your program along the way—and cast your ballot!