Intergenerational Connections Project Benefits Students and Older Adults Alike; New Application Cycle Begins

​“You have changed my life for the better,” said one older adult to a student participating in the first CIC/AARP Foundation Intergenerational Connections program cohort. Twenty-one CIC member colleges and universities are participating in the pilot year (2017–2018) of the Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults project. Generously funded by the AARP Foundation, the CIC project provides participating institutions with grants of up to $13,000 to use as stipends for students who engage in a variety of initiatives to serve low-income older adults in their campus communities. All supported initiatives are designed to address four key needs of older adults: healthy diets, safe and affordable housing, income generation, and improved social interaction.

Students assist older adults with painting terracotta pots
As part of their Intergenerational Connections project, Pfeiffer University (NC) students work with nursing home residents to prepare for an extensive gardening project.

In this first year of the project, students and older adults began working together in late summer and quickly realized the value of their partnerships. As another older adult remarked, “The students are so compassionate…. The work that they have done with me has given me confidence.” And, although the students who are implementing these important initiatives have admitted that they were nervous at first, they are thankful to have these opportunities. Students involved in one project report that they are improving their communication skills and treasure applying what they have learned in the classroom in a practical setting.

The first cohort of students has organized initiatives such as a class for older men in the community that teaches to shop and prepare practical, nutritious meals; technology classes that help older adults become more comfortable using computers and cell phones; the development and maintenance of a community garden where crops are harvested for wholesome meals; and home safety and health checks and the subsequent creation of health improvement plans.

“The wide-ranging projects undertaken by CIC colleges and universities are impressive,” said AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president emerita of Wells College (NY). “We’re excited about their potential to help build a national network of programs that serve older adults.” 

Impressed by the quality of the projects to date and the enormous potential that the initiatives have to benefit students and older adults in the campus community, in November CIC invited the 21 participating institutions to apply for 16 renewal grants to continue their work in 2018–2019. 

Furthermore, the AARP Foundation’s commitment to building a network of projects on college and university campuses has prompted the foundation to fund a second round of institutional-based initiatives for 2018–2019. In the second Intergenerational Connections grant cycle, CIC will award grants of up to $13,000 to 20 institutions for projects to take place during the 2018–2019 academic year. The funds will be used primarily to support student involvement in these projects. Because many colleges and universities already encourage students to engage in such activities, this grant program can be used to help colleges expand existing programs as well as to start new initiatives. Applications for the second cycle are due February 16, 2018.

For additional information, including proposal information for the 2018–2019 cycle, visit the Intergenerational Connections program site or contact Kelsey Sherman, assistant to the president, at or (202) 466-7230.