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Young people can provide an array of helpful services to older people, including teaching new technology, visiting those who are isolated, and helping with home chores.

Reports show that students who volunteer do better in school than their non-volunteering counterparts.

Young people develop a sense of belonging in their communities, and through serving older people, often gain an appreciation for the wholeness of life and learn that growing old is normal and natural. Funders may wish to replicate in their own communities programs like these:

LeadingAge member Masonicare, a not-for-profit provider of healthcare and retirement living communities in Wallingford, CT, partnered with nearby Quinnipiac University to create an intergenerational Students-in-Residence program. Each year, two Quinnipiac students are chosen to live within an assisted living community. In exchange for a free room, students are required to devote eight hours of service weekly to residents, which will be unique to the students and the community, and must eat at least one meal a week with residents. Masonicare leaders came up with the idea after attending a LeadingAge annual meeting in Nashville at which they learned about student musicians living with older adults in another part of the country.

AGE to age, an intergenerational program launched by the Northland Foundation in northeastern Minnesota, offers a College Intern Program that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in a community-based work experience at AGE to age sites during the summertime. The initiative helps college interns enhance their leadership skills, increase their knowledge of intergenerational community-building, and infuse fresh ideas in participating sites. Watch a video about the program. For more information about AGE to age, see “Young and old working together.”

VISIONS, a nonprofit rehabilitation and social service agency in New York City, runs an Intergenerational Program that recruits, trains, and employs New York City high school students to assist blind seniors in their homes and at Selis Manor, a center in Manhattan for blind youth, adults, and seniors. Numerous nonprofit organizations support VISIONS, including the Aging in New York Fund.

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