Return to Report Intergenerational Connections Projects

​This comprehensive list includes brief descriptions of the projects undertaken by participating institutions. Contact information is provided for the institutions that agreed to assist other colleges and universities considering starting programs or refining existing programs to enhance intergenerational connections.

Return to the Fostering Resilience through Intergenerational Connections report.

Barton College

Wilson, North Carolina
The Barton College project, Legacy Building: Training One Generation to Enhance the Lives of Another, continued and expanded the work the gerontology and exercise science programs are doing at Wilson House. Wilson House includes assisted living and memory care units where most residents receive Medicaid assistance. The Legacy Building project expanded upon programming that was started through a Healthcare Foundation of Wilson grant that provided funding for exercise equipment at Wilson House. The emphasis of this project was to increase physical activity and reduce social isolation. Pairs of exercise science and gerontology students worked together to conduct oral histories with residents and to provide supervised physical activity sessions for selected residents in both the assisted living and memory care units. Working in interdisciplinary pairs, the exercise science students provided leadership of the physical activity component while the gerontology students led the social component. In addition to positively influencing the health and wellness of residents, the project activities provided a unique opportunity to enrich the learning experience—as students learned from each other about their respective disciplines while positively affecting the lives of residents.

Institutional Contact: Steve Fulks, Gerontology Program Director
Phone: (252) 399-6570

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategies: developing oral histories; engaging in physical activity

Bay Path University

Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Partnerships were established with local assisted living residences to allow Bay Path students to have weekly visits with residents. The visits entailed using “memory kits” to provide cognitive and social engagement. Students created memory kits with a variety of themes, including travel, music, history, sports, games, and health and beauty. Items representing each theme provided a talking point for memory recollection and stories that both the resident and student could share. Memory kits were sensory-based and included some original items or laminated pictures of things from “back in the day” (1950–1960s). Students met with the same residents for six weeks and completed pre- and post-assessments on their attitudes toward older people using the Fraboni Scale of Ageism. Findings indicated a positive trend for reduction of ageism because of this project. Qualitative measures for students also indicated improved communications skills and confidence working with older adults. Qualitative measures for the residents, in the form of narrative reflections on the experience, indicated strong support for enjoyment and socialization.

Institutional Contact: Kathryn Wiezbicki-Stevens, Chair, Undergraduate Psychology Department; Program Director, PreOT Studies and Health and Human Services Programs
Phone: (413) 565-1226

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: building relationships

Bennington College

Bennington, Vermont
Bennington College’s Elder Care Collaborative enabled five students to complete internships with Bennington Project Independence (BPI), a community organization that provides comprehensive adult day services for older adults and adults with disabilities during the college’s seven-week Field Work Term in January and February 2019. Interns served in roles that will leverage the diverse talents and career interests of Bennington students to enhance BPI’s programming: social work assistant, artist in residence, technology tutor, and elder care policy intern. For BPI’s clients, the project directly improved quality of life and reduced social isolation among local older adults through engagement with the arts, exposure to technology, awareness of issues affecting elder care services, and positive interactions and dialogue with students. For students, the experience provided a unique opportunity for intensive and frequent interactions with BPI’s approximately 100 clients in a way that is not possible during the fall and spring academic terms. These interactions deepened student empathy for individuals whose life stories and perspectives may be very different from their own, raised their awareness about the work of elder care professionals, and expanded their definition of community engagement and social responsibility.

Institutional Contact: Sarah Clader, Assistant Director of Employer Relations, Field Work Term and Career Development Office
Phone: (802) 440-4324

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: applying the arts; building relationships; using technology

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, Virginia
Helping Hands was a multifaceted program that provided opportunities for students to interact with residents of a local retirement community. Following the results of a survey to identify programming topics of interest, students held technology seminars aimed to address residents’ online connectivity with distant family members and to familiarize them with social media. Lifestyle nutrition and food science students provided nutrition lessons to residents, instructed residents in the preparation of a meal for one or two people, and offered a nutrition assessment screening. Students in an adult aging and development course designed gardens specifically for the needs of older adults and installed three raised bed gardens and a greenhouse. The students in a family resource management course met with residents to plan what to plant in the gardens. Together, students and residents planted, harvested, and distributed the food.

Institutional Contact: Debbie Dunn-Frederick, Instructor and Coordinator Nutritional Sciences, Department of Health Sciences
Phone: (540) 828-5460

Priority Areas: reducing social isolation; guaranteeing nutritious and affordable diets
Strategies: using technology; building relationships; living a healthy life; gardening; and using food as a vehicle

Caldwell University

Caldwell, New Jersey
Public health education and health science majors engaged in meaningful activities with older adult residents of Marian Manor, a HUD-assisted senior housing unit in the community. Students met with older adults weekly to build relationships by listening to their life stories. As rapport and trust were solidified, students guided the residents in setting up and use of personal computers, tablets, smart phones, and email accounts so that the seniors could access health-related information and improve their wellness. The older adults also joined a private Facebook page that the students created and maintained. The students received paid internships for their involvement in the project.

Priority Areas: social isolation
Strategies: using technology, building relationships, living a healthy life

California Baptist University

Riverside, California
Twenty undergraduate students, studying at California Baptist University's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and College of Architecture, Visual Arts, and Design, gathered the oral histories of 20 residents ages 65 and older living in the Riverside, California, neighborhood, Casa Blanca. Casa Blanca is one of the oldest Mexican American districts in Southern California, with approximately 80 (based on most recent data) percent of the population identifying as Mexican or Hispanic. Many of the families currently residing in this neighborhood are related to individuals who migrated to the region to work on the railroads and citrus groves as early as the 1800s, as well as during the Bracero Program initiated in 1942, which ended in 1964. Oral histories were gathered following students’ immersive experience, building relationships and serving in the community, including at the Ysmael Villegas Community Center. At the end of the academic year, “showcase” events on campus and then in the community were held and participants shared the relationships, as well as oral histories, that were developed. Finally, supporting intergenerational connections and students’ development of cultural humility were project priorities.
Institutional Contact: Jacqueline Gustafson, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Phone: (951) 552-8372

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories

Calvin University

Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Enhancing Well-Being through Intergenerational Learning project promoted intergenerational learning models that allowed older adults and university students from Calvin University and the Grand Rapids, Michigan, community to learn from each other while promoting social connectedness, health, and well-being. The program approach was two-fold: inviting older adults into the classroom and allowing them to serve as experts and learners, and sending students into the community to engage with and teach older adults about several health and wellness topics. The classroom-based part of the project invited older adults to join the final six weeks of the course, Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Older adults from the community participated in the lifespan section of the course alongside students enrolled in the class. In the community-based part of the project, over the course of the semester, pairs of health psychology students visited older adults in their homes who are clients of a Grand Rapids-based collaborative service provider for older adults with chronic health needs and limited resources. In addition to getting to know each other and being a conduit for social interactions, the health psychology students also shared with older adults some health topics related to their course and personal interests of the older adults. Changes in both students and older adults’ well-being, loneliness, health concerns, and student perceptions of older adults were measured.

Institutional Contact: Julie E. Yonker, Associate Professor of Psychology
Phone: (616) 516-7668

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: building relationships; living a healthy lifestyle

Campbell University

Buies Creek, North Carolina
Mustard Seed Community Garden was a collaboration among friends in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. Students and faculty of Campbell University, church groups, civic groups, and other willing gardeners in Harnett County worked together to produce healthy food that was distributed by local food banks. Behind this faith-fueled desire to meet basic human food needs, Campbell University participants recognized that they are needy too. Participants recognized the communal value of working together in meaningful pursuits and the importance of being good stewards. As a recognition of their blessings, participants practiced “reverse gleaning” setting aside the bulk of the harvest for those in need, leaving the remainder to those who worked the field.

Institutional Contact: Morgan Pajak, Garden Supervisor
Phone: (910) 548-3220

Priority Area: healthy and nutritious diets
Strategy: gardening

Centenary University

Hackettstown, New Jersey
The goals of S.M.A.R.T. were for participants to recognize the benefits of learning from and listening to each other and finding common interests that will produce lasting relationships and life-long learning experiences between the generations. The outcomes envisioned for students and older adults were gaining confidence, promoting a sense of purpose, keeping active (mentally and physically), improving communication skills, learning new skills, energizing each other with laughter and positive conversation, reducing the effects of loneliness and sadness, keeping history and family stories alive, and increasing self-esteem. S.M.A.R.T. is an intergenerational project that partnered Centenary University students and older adults in the community in a variety of activities and settings that interested them. The program took students to local nursing and care giving facilities to engage in projects and activities that addressed nutrition and social isolation. Activities planned for weekly visits included sharing recipes and cooking together, making crafts, and planting herbs, flowers, and vegetables that can be placed in the older adults’ and students’ rooms and on the campuses. Students and older adults shared stories and participated in board and card games, book groups, walking and talking, technology discussions and mentoring, art, music, dance, scrapbooking, and organizing photographs and mementos.

Institutional Contact: Rachel Danitz, Community Engagement Coordinator
Phone: (908) 852-1400, ext. 2249

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets and social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; living a healthy lifestyle; using technology

Chatham University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This project paired students with older adults at a community senior center in order to address issues of older adult isolation and food insecurity. Students interacted with the older adults over an extended period through interviews, conversation, observation, and meal sharing. The students gathered stories about foods that are important to their older adult partner’s individual identity and/or community culture. Students recorded those stories, collected recipes, and worked together to create a community cookbook that celebrates the important cultural life and contributions of older adults in the community. Students acted as oral historians and interviewers, recording their stories for the cookbook and an oral history archive maintained by the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT) at Chatham.

Institutional Contact: Carrie Tippen, Assistant Professor of English
Phone: (412) 365-1452

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategies: developing oral histories; using food to bring generations together

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, Tennessee
Christian Brothers University’s (CBU) Intergenerational Internship Initiative placed undergraduate students at three different area nonprofit organizations that serve the community’s older adult population in various ways. Each internship was built around a defined site project that focused on a specific need of older adults, representing an experience that focused on hunger, income generation, or social isolation. The three participating nonprofit sites included Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Memphis, The Works, Inc., and the Shelby County Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Each site hosted one CBU undergraduate student for ten hours per week during a 16-week semester. Interns worked on a defined project that directly affected the nonprofit's client population of low-income older adults.

Institutional Contact: Amy Ware, Director, Career Services
Phone: (901) 321-3331

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; income generation; and social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; improving financial literacy; living a healthy lifestyle; using food to bring generations together

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Intergenerational Connections at Coe (ICC) is a semester-long faculty-guided practicum (for credit) or volunteer experience (for stipend) in collaboration with the local agency Aging Services, Inc. ICC was designed to attract students from all majors. ICC facilitates weekly conversation and engagement between socially isolated low-income older adults and college students, two groups who experience growth and a sense of belonging through community engagement. The curriculum included workshops addressing communication skills, ethics, empathy, and professionalism for students. Regular meetings and group activities included a wide range of topics selected by the older adult participants and students, for example community services available to older adults, exercise, nutrition, grief work, and advanced care planning. Students brought their community partners to campus for various athletic and fine arts events; older adult partners, in turn, brought their students to local museums, the mall, the grocery store, and church, among others. Students visit their partners weekly and practice reflective journaling. All students, whether they choose the practicum or to volunteer, receive an allowance for transportation or activities with their older adult partners. A third and fourth year of ICC is being sponsored through generous donations by a Coe alumnus. Coe created the role of teaching assistant as a leadership opportunity, and the instructor receives one course credit to teach as overload.

Institutional Contact: Heide Bursch, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Phone: (319) 330-7434

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: building relationships

Colby-Sawyer College

New London, New Hampshire
The Three Generations of Lifelong Learners project established greater social connectedness for older adults living near Colby-Sawyer College. Ten older adults and ten students paired for a two-part project. Together, the intergenerational pair contributed to an educational experience for young children at a local school. Secondly, the pair created a “life story” of the older adult using media of their choice. The life story projects were shared during a community-wide event on campus. The goals of this project were to create an active learning environment at the college for three generations of participants, to facilitate a process for older adults to tell their life stories, and to stimulate companionship and life-long friendships between college students and older adults.

Institutional Contact: Lynn Garrioch, Professor of Psychology
Phone: (603) 526-3638

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories

College of Saint Mary

Omaha, Nebraska
Nine health profession students studying occupational therapy and nursing participated in the Intergenerational Connections project with immigrant and refugee older adults who attend the Intercultural Senior Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Faculty from the two disciplines recruited the students, who each received a stipend for their work. Students completed cultural awareness training at the site and used information regarding the older adults’ health needs to develop and implement health promotion programming under the supervision of the faculty mentors. Finally, students summarized and shared their work with the College of Saint Mary community through presentations at the Student Occupational Therapy Association and Student Nursing Association meetings.

Institutional contact: Erin Westover, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Phone: (402) 399-3638

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategies: living a healthy lifestyle

Concordia University Wisconsin

Mequon, Wisconsin
The purpose of the Interprofessional In-Home, Team-based Assessment project at Concordia University Wisconsin was to develop an interprofessional approach for in-home assessment of falls risk, medication safety, and mental health for older adults receiving “Fresh Meals on Wheels” in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. This project incorporated a holistic approach to improve the quality of life and well-being of older adults in their homes while exposing students to the realities and challenges that the older adults face in remaining independent. The team consisted of a registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, pharmacist, and students from these health professions, as well as a medical anthropologist/clinical ethnographer. The four primary goals of the project were to positively impact the quality of life and in-home safety for older adults in Sheboygan County, develop an assessment tool and process related to common safety and health risks for older adults living in their homes, eliminate risks identified during the assessments, and improve the education for students within the geriatric domain of health and social care.

Institutional Contact: Sharon Chappy, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing
Phone: (262) 243-4246

Priority Areas: safe and affordable housing; social isolation
Strategies: living a healthy lifestyle; reducing the risk of falls

Converse College

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Converse College’s project was centered on the original theatre production, Growing Old: Food and Oral History in Performance, staged and produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Converse. Student and older adult community participants of Spartanburg resource centers and care facilities created this show collaboratively. The goal of this project was to share stories, knowledge, and service and to empower the personal growth of older and younger women through theatrical expression. The project followed three guiding principles: the use of engaged community service as experiential learning; the belief in community partnerships as useful sources of social interaction for both college-age and older adult individuals; and the value of theatrical expression to explore the memories and embodied knowledge of both younger and older participants. Using sound, archival images, and movement, this project engaged the memories, range of physical abilities, and stories of both older adult women and young women to explore and document the oral histories and memories of women concerning food and growth. This project asked participants to consider what it might mean to shift the perception of age as a static and even unfortunate end toward a generative course of growth, an intricate process of becoming, and a perhaps beautiful unfolding of life. Converse College hoped that the ways in which food is central to individuals’ lives as young and old women and how growing food and the circulation of food in communities might serve as a meaningful way to grow a life in mindful and healthy ways. Project methods included the use of service rehearsals. Rather than spending time solely staging and rehearsing the final production, service rehearsals provided approximately two- to three-hour increments of contact time in which the creative team of “Growing Old” engaged with community participants through experiential learning opportunities within community sites. The college cast of “Growing Old” served older adults and under-resourced populations through partnerships with organizations such as Spartanburg Mobile Meals, Habitat for Humanity, The Shepherd’s Center, and the Archibald Rutledge Senior Housing Center.

Institutional Contact: Chandra Hopkins, Associate Professor of Theatre
Phone: (864) 596-9427

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: applying the arts; building relationships; developing oral histories

Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois
The primary focus of Dominican’s project was the family caregivers of older adults attending an adult day service center. Students majoring in nutrition and psychology learned about normal gaining, dementia, caregiver stress, and nutrition for older adults. They then prepared educational materials and information boards that they presented to the caregivers when they brought the older adults to the center. The students also developed warm relationships with the older adults while they waited for their family members to take them home.

Institutional Contact: Julie Bach, Director, School of Social Work
Phone: (708) 714-9102

Priority Areas: reducing social isolation; guaranteeing nutritious and affordable diets
Strategies: building relationships; living a healthy life

Dominican University of California

San Rafael, California
Dominican University of California’s project was a collaboration between nursing and occupational therapy (OT) students to make home visits to community-dwelling older adults in the rural area of West Marin County, California, through a partnership with West Marin Senior Services, which serves both the San Geronimo Valley and Point Reyes Station communities. Each older adult was visited twice a week for eight weeks during fall 2018. Every week, one visit was completed by nursing students and the other by OT students. The nursing and OT students collaborated by sharing information with each other on the findings from their respective visits and plan for continuation of care across disciplines. In spring 2019, nursing students continued to make weekly home visits without their OT partners; however, OT faculty members were available for consultations. In addition, OT and nursing students distributed health flyers, recipes, fall prevention, and wellness promotion information to the broader older adult community.

Institutional Contact: Kistum Li, Associate Professor/Program Director, Occupational Therapy
Phone: (415) 458-3753

Priority Areas: safe and affordable housing; social isolation
Strategy: living a healthy lifestyle

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
The Elizabethtown College Rural Intergenerational Connections project connected students with rural, low-income older adults at the Elizabethtown Area Senior Center to engage in project work designed to reduce social isolation and build income generation capacity. A multi-disciplinary team of 12 students, drawn from a variety of academic majors, was identified and engaged in training led by key college faculty and staff members and staff from the senior center about rural and generational poverty, relationship building, and basic project elements. The students partnered with older adults to build relationships through a personal history and life narrative conversation project and to provide individualized training on basic internet skills focused on finding employment, accessing social support programs, and recognizing and avoiding scams.

Institutional Contact: Joel Janisewski, Director of Purposeful Life Pathways and Civic Participation
Phone: (717) 361-6048

Priority Areas: income generation; social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; creating new skills for income generation; identifying schemes that victimize older adults; using technology

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The overall objective of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s project, Engaging Older Adults, Empowering Students, and Strengthening Communities through Intergenerational Relationships, was to address social isolation of older adults living independently in the community through technological engagement and service-learning support networks. More specifically, the goals of the project were to reduce social isolation among older adults through technological engagement; enhance student perceptions of older adults through meaningful interactions between older adults and students; and promote long-term engagement of older adults with technology through service-learning support networks. Students studied three older adult populations: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, residents living in Our Lady of the Lake Elderly HUD Apartments, and Southside Gardens Retirement Homes. The students offered technology classes for the older adults on the use of mobile devices, texting, email, and social media; online communication with schools attended by their grandchildren; educational YouTube videos; online genealogy sessions titled “Way Back When”; and technology sessions combined with arts and crafts. The study employed a mixed methods design consisting of quantitative and qualitative methodology to assess the impact of the service-learning intergenerational project on the students and older adults.

Institutional Contact: Rhoda A. Reddix, Associate Professor, School of Health Professions and Director, Service-Learning
Phone: (225) 214-6966

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: using technology

Goodwin College

East Hartford, Connecticut
Occupational therapy and human services students interacted with residents at a health and rehabilitation center who were identified through the Minimum Data Set as being socially isolated. Together they engaged in activities that the residents identified during interviews as being meaningful to them, such as watching movies and baseball games, playing cards and board games, and sitting in the courtyard. Importantly, six of the residents agreed to create digital stories of their lives, focusing on memorable and significant life events. Students also developed occupational profiles of their residents. Two of the students gave a peer-reviewed presentation about the project at the New England Organization for Human Services Conference. The center hosted a culminating event and celebration during which the students presented the digital stories and attendees had an opportunity to discuss the effects of the project.

Priority Area: reducing social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories

Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
Gwynedd Mercy University’s Intergenerational Connections project, Mercy in Action: Fighting Isolation and Depression in Older Adults, focused on connecting graduate nurse practitioners and undergraduate students and older adults in professional and personal interactions to address a leading cause of depression in adults 55 and older, isolation. Mercy in Action developed from a nursing course focused on geriatric care, The Older Adult. All students enrolled in the course were expected to complete a service project related to an area of the coursework. Mercy in Action is a special service opportunity for 20 students enrolled in the course, with two students serving as project managers. Students who accepted a position in the Mercy in Action project had the added benefit of experiential learning with direct support from their professors and leadership of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions. The project consisted of three phases: delivery of dynamic educational presentations to 75-100 older adults through senior centers, adult day centers, hospitals, or informal groups of older adults that gather for support; an invitation to campus activities open to the general public as well as community events to engage older adults with students who will serve as event greeters and hosts; and a survey administered at the close of each semester to student volunteers and older adults who attended informational sessions to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in terms of information, resources, and interactions.

Institutional Contact: Denise Vanacore, Graduate Program Director and Professor of Nursing
Phone: (215) 646-7300 ext. 21403

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: living a healthy lifestyle

Hilbert College

Hamburg, New York
Older adults eligible for independent living through Hilbert College’s partner agency (People Inc.) must be at least 62, demonstrate the ability to manage their own affairs and daily tasks, and meet federally mandated income requirements in order to participate in the college’s Fostering Intergenerational Relationships project. Although limited activities are provided with the help of an on-site daytime manager, funding has not been available at People Inc. to coordinate or provide activities for tenants nor does the agency employ a recreational activities director at any of the target sites. Subsequently, older adults living independently under the auspices of this program have been unable to participate regularly in planned activities that provide enhanced social involvement, meaningful interpersonal interaction, or continued skill development in technology and activities of daily living. Under the guidance of Hilbert faculty and People Inc. staff, students from Hilbert College created and implemented weekly individual and group activities, the focus of which has been to increase socialization, reduce interpersonal stress, improve activities of daily living, and break down barriers to the use of technology for older adults. Some of the activities in the first year included one-to-one companionship meetings, wellness speakers, arts and crafts, attendance at campus and community events, oral history presentations, and dramatic readings. Eight students participated in the program.

Institutional Contact: Colleen Kumiega, Associate Professor, Human Services and Internship Coordinator
Phone: (716) 649-7900

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories; living a healthy lifestyle; using technology

Holy Names University

Oakland, California
Nursing students conducted health and environmental assessments to identify the needs of low-income older adults so that they could connect with them to reduce their feelings of isolation and improve their health and home environment. The assessments were conducted in community-based nonprofit organizations and included assessments of home safety, health and medical care, psychosocial support resources, and understanding and use of information technology. The students kept clinical journals documenting their interactions with older adults, participated in classroom discussions reflecting on the clinical experience, and completed a summative report with recommendations.

Priority Areas: reducing social isolation; ensuring safe and affordable housing
Strategies: home safety; health and medical care; reducing social isolation; information technology

Jarvis Christian College

Hawkins, Texas
Jarvis Christian College’s The Wellness Project implemented community-wide intergenerational learning opportunities for both the older adults of the community and Jarvis Christian College (JCC) students. Older adults (ages 50 and older) in Hawkins took advantage of lifelong learning through adult educational programs and support activities administered by JCC students. By implementing programs centered on enhancing older adults’ capabilities with modern technology and promoting social support services, JCC students helped older adults overcome feelings of isolation and alienation. The Wellness Project implemented six-week technology courses along with numerous support activities with community partners. JCC collaborated with the Hawkins Public Library and Holly Lake for technology classes, and The Gardens assisted living for social support activities. The program addressed social isolation by providing weekly recreational and educational activities to 20–30 low-income older adults on a rotating schedule. Students participated in training sessions and met as a group bi-weekly to discuss program assignments and evaluate their learning experiences from previous sessions.

Institutional Contact: Sonya Holmes, Director of Field Education
Phone: (903) 574-0190

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; using technology

Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry, New York
The project, Reminiscences of Older Adults: Undergraduate Students Engaged in Intergenerational Communication via Community Service, focused on reducing the social isolation of community-based older adults in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The project provided 12 undergraduate students enrolled in an upper-level course in the Communication Disorders Program with a semester-long clinical experience in which they facilitated weekly oral discussion groups using reminiscence therapy techniques to create oral histories with community-based older adults beginning in fall 2018 and continuing into spring 2019 through the development of participants’ digital life histories. Due to participants’ reluctance to engage with digital technology, students created digital stories that focused on their reflections concerning these older adults’ topic-related life histories. Students were responsible for creating lesson plans that included procedures for reminiscence therapy and appropriate materials. The students used participants’ communicative contributions and created digital reflections of this intergenerational experience, which were then entered in the Mercy College Digital Story event in April 2019. The students were supervised by faculty members who hold licenses as speech-language pathologists from New York State and the American Speech Language Hearing Association. This project expanded a current intergenerational community-based service learning project (Kosky and Schlisselberg, 2013) for graduate students in the Communication Disorders Program to students in the Undergraduate Program in Communication Disorders. This community-based intergenerational experience complemented the content taught in two undergraduate academic courses: Multicultural Issues in Communication Disorders and Clinical Process.

Institutional Contact: Christine Kosky, Associate Professor, Communication Disorders
Phone: (914) 674-7740

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories

Meredith College

Raleigh, North Carolina
As part of the Meredith College Fall Prevention Project, college student visitors worked with faculty members to implement a fall prevention protocol with socially isolated low-income older adults who live independently in the community. Students administered home safety checks and taught older adults a simple in-home exercise routine to improve balance. Students then followed up to enhance compliance with recommendations through subsequent home visits and telephone check-ins. The original project built upon a successful pilot project and leveraged a long-term relationship with a community partner agency, the Center for Volunteer Caregiving. The project was expanded in its second year to reach additional older adults and to include support for home modifications that may require supplies and minor structural adaptations. The project targeted a population of older adults who are often overlooked in intervention programs.

Institutional Contact: Gwynn Morris, Professor of Psychology
Phone: (919) 760-8442

Priority Areas: safe and affordable housing; social isolation
Strategies: engaging in physical activity; reducing the risk of falls

Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
MUSIC & MEMORY® is a nonprofit organization that uses music, personalized for each individual, to improve the quality of life of the older adults who may be living with a range of neurological conditions such as cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. Music is known to associate with an event from a person’s life so that hearing a specific piece of music years later evokes memories of the original experience. Patients are then able to engage in meaningful conversation with family and friends as they recall those memories from an event that took place even decades earlier. Furthermore, additional research has demonstrated that listening to personalized music to reduce states of anxiety significantly among adults living with a variety of cognitive impairments, thereby improving their quality of life. Moravian College developed a MUSIC & MEMORY program in partnership with Phoebe Ministries, a nonprofit organization that specializes in health care, housing, and support services for older adults from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. The MUSIC & MEMORY program at Moravian College introduced personalized music as a best practice in addressing long-term cognitive and quality of life care for the older adult community in the Lehigh Valley. Undergraduate students participated in MUSIC & MEMORY program training as well as several hours of cognition and dementia care training at Phoebe Richland. Each student completed a “life story,” used to match them with residents who share similar interests (and whose own life stories will be shared with the students). The students visited with residents weekly and developed cognition surveys in accordance with the Institutional Review Boards of Phoebe Ministries and Moravian College to gather a “baseline” assessment of language, memory, and other cognitive tasks. Pre-music surveys were provided to all participating residents by the undergraduates (with help from the nursing staff and family members). Students played music and evaluated residents’ reactions to it so they may develop a playlist of favorite music. Once the music program began, residents were assessed for cognitive function and quality of life measures every two weeks through the academic year.

Institutional Contact: Cecilia Fox, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences and Director, Neuroscience Program
Phone: (610) 861-1426

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: applying the arts

Pfeiffer University

Misenheimer, North Carolina
Pfeiffer University engaged in a second year of intergenerational programming focused on increasing access to produce for older adults in the Pfeiffer community as well as providing meaningful adaptive service experiences to older adults. During the first year of the project, Pfeiffer made significant renovations to the Hunger Relief Garden to increase accessibility, and student leaders continued the work of hosting older adult volunteer groups during the second year. Pfeiffer University enhanced its partnership with Senior Services through expanding the produce delivery program to additional counties. In addition, a student-led “Elder Care Club” was piloted to expand the university’s programming beyond gardening and to include other volunteer and recreational opportunities that engage both students and older adults in the community.

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; gardening

Regis College

Weston, Massachusetts
The Social Isolation through a Public Health Lens: Promoting Workforce Development, Social Justice, and Wellness via Intergenerational Connections project partnered eight Regis College public health majors—with 17 Sisters of St. Joseph residents at Bethany Health Care Center, a skilled nursing facility. This project, completed through a series of face-to-face conversations and photography, sought to help undergraduate students understand how retired older adults approach their daily lives, reflect on the past, and identify challenges and opportunities for current social connections. PhotoVoice (a participatory action research technique) was used to capture vital information. Students were selected through a competitive application process and were overseen and led by public health faculty members. Students met weekly and completed a series of both in-person and online trainings. Broad topic areas for training included qualitative research techniques, ethical conduct of research, special issues pertaining to older adult populations, social isolation as a public health issue, and history of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Institutional Contact: Leslie Mandel, Program Director and Associate Professor, Public Health
Phone: (781) 768-7839

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; using technology

Rust College

Holly Springs, Mississippi
Rust College’s Students Teaching Elders Technology Skills (STETS) Program provided instruction to older adults to learn technological skills that enhance their ability to communicate using a computer and smartphone. The program also provided students with training to give meaningful instruction to older adults on innovative ways to use the internet, email, text messaging, and social media. Students provided one-on-one instruction when necessary, and instruction occurred on a weekly basis. In addition, the program provided an opportunity for the older adults to interact with young adults and to participate in various cultural events on the Rust College campus. At least three times during the grant period, students engaged their older adult partners in holiday celebrations and cultural events.

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; using technology

Shenandoah University

Winchester, Virginia
The Intergenerational Service Practicum program provided training, stipends, and supplies for six Shenandoah students per semester who engaged weekly programming and assistance with daily activities at the Winchester Senior Center. Each semester, two psychology students led programs oriented toward improving older adults’ social interaction and decreasing loneliness; two public health students led programs oriented toward improving older adults’ nutritional knowledge and eating habits; and two exercise science students led programs oriented toward improving older adults’ physical fitness. Students devoted eight hours each week to service at the senior center and earned course credit for a practicum in their major.

Institutional Contact: Scott King, Professor of Psychology
Phone: (312) 375-8025

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets, safe and affordable housing, and social isolation
Strategies: engaging in physical activity; living a healthy lifestyle

Spelman College

Atlanta, Georgia
Giving Voice, Visibility, and Service to African American Women Elders (GVVS at Spelman College) was the service component of the SIS Oral History Project, which was founded at the college in 2002. GVVS at Spelman College challenged the traditional approach to teaching and learning in the humanities by making age the central lens to open in a study of the intersection of race, gender, and class in American/African American history and culture. The project’s focus on age directed student research across disciplines, student writing across genres, and student service to African American women older adults who mentored them during the two-semester learning experience. A non-traditional and demanding learning experience, GVVS prepared 16 students to move beyond seeing older adults as topics in texts but as real people who are important contributors to society. During the course of the GVVS project, Spelman hosted multiple events for older adults in the community, including worshipping, dancing, learning, and a celebration of SIS Women of Wisdom.

Institutional Contact: Gloria Gayles, Founding Director, Spelman Independent Scholars
Phone: (404) 270-5565

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; developing oral histories

Springfield College

Springfield, Massachusetts
Senior health science occupational therapy students prepared for what they called the Home and Healthy Happening Program by developing a mission statement, a fundraising flyer, and a “lending closet” with over 50 pieces of equipment that can improve the comfort and safety of older adults living at home. Junior students then carried out the protocol developed by the seniors for home visits. They spent time with the older adults in their homes, engaged in conversations and leisure activities, and assisted with low-technology home modifications to reduce the risk of falls.

Priority Areas: reducing social isolation, ensuring safe housing
Strategies: building relationships, reducing the risk of falls

St. John Fisher College

Rochester, New York
“Bridges across Generations” is a two-semester service-learning collaboration between sociology and biology faculty members. The aim of this project was to expand and integrate two existing intergenerational outreach programs that serve the needs of older adults: the Elder Experiences Project (sociology) and Longevity Games (biology). The two programs were integrated into a two-semester program and offered to approximately 50 older adults residing in a low-income neighborhood in Rochester, New York. The Elder Experiences Project, which emerged from a gerontology service-learning course, involves pairing students with older adults so that they can interview them and record their life history. The Longevity Games draws from theories in the science of aging to promote healthy aging.  Students enrolled in the Science of Aging course partnered with older adults to track physical and cognitive biomarker data to create and implement an individualized plan for improving health outcomes. Both the Elder Experiences Project and the Longevity Games served older adults who regularly attend programming offered at a community center as well as older adults from an existing service-learning partnership with a senior life facility. Each older adult participated in both outreach programs.

Institutional Contact: Marta Rodríguez-Galán, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Gerontology Program

Institutional Contact: Jonathan Millen, Visiting Assistant Professor
Phone: (585) 385-7271

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: developing oral histories; living a healthy lifestyle

The College of Saint Rose

Albany, New York
Promoting Food Security and Community among Older Adult Refugees and Citizens used The College of Saint Rose’s Community Involvement service-learning course as a platform for a new initiative with long-term community partners, the Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus (RISSE). Eight students who enrolled in the course spent a full academic year alleviating food insecurity among older adults living in the college community, while also addressing the tensions that arise when people are facing significant hardships and do not understand or appreciate their neighbors, who are experiencing challenges of their own. The students also assisted older adults with the services offered at the Food Pantry. A primary goal of the project was for students to develop a rapport with both longer-term citizens of the neighborhood, as well as those who have recently come to the community, and that students would help new neighbors develop English-language skills.

Institutional Contact: Fred Boehrer, Director, Service-Learning Program
Phone: (518) 458-5484

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategy: using food to bring generations together

Universidad del Sagrado Corazón

Santurce, Puerto Rico
The Healthy Intergenerational Connection at Sagrado (HICS) project implemented a program to provide seven undergraduate students from the university an opportunity to work with varying groups of low-income older adults in health promotion and prevention and reduction of obesity. Selected students studying different academic disciplines related to the project included humanities, exercise science, social work, and nursing. The older adults come from the metropolitan area of San Juan. HICS consisted of meetings for the older adults at the university’s athletic facilities. Program activities included conferences and workshops on the prevention of hypokinetic diseases, physical fitness, healthy lifestyles and eating habits, and exercise sessions. Project activities were designed and implemented by a senior faculty member from the exercise sciences and health promotion program, and participating students worked under his direction and in scheduled weekly activities and administrative support tasks.

Institutional Contact: Erica Benoit, Communications Grants Manager
Phone: (787) 728-1515 ext. 4298

Priority Areas: safe and affordable housing; healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategy: engaging in physical activity; living a healthy life

University of Saint Francis

Fort Wayne, Indiana
Act of Listening: Storytelling to Share Life Lessons built relationships between University of Saint Francis students majoring in music technology, communications, psychology, and social work and lower-income adults. Through a series of intensive, intentional interactions over the 2018–2019 year, those interactions led to recorded interviews in which the adults shared their life experiences and responded to prompted questions from student interviewers. Using an NPR interview model, recordings were made of each interview and copies of each interview were given to each interviewee. Edited versions of those interviews were broadcast during a special program on the local NPR station, WBOI, in April 2019 and have been used during breaks in news segments. An estimated audience of up to 100,000 listeners heard the interviews on air. Full-length podcasts of those interviews continue to be shared through the WBOI station website. Pre- and post-surveys also were used to determine whether attitudes about the two age groups have changed as a result of this project.

Institutional Contact: Katrina Boedeker, Director of Experiential and Service Learning
Phone: (260) 399-8065

Institutional Contact: Kristin Miller, Assistant Professor, Public Relations
Phone: (260) 399-7700, ext. 8010

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategy: developing oral histories

Virginia Wesleyan University

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) worked with Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay and the Western Bayside Community Partnership to offer cybersecurity/online safety education to residents throughout Virginia Beach, Virginia, in the fall semester. In the spring semester, the program was expanded to multiple locations throughout the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area. Through partnerships, VWU reached out to churches throughout Virginia Beach that offer senior day-care services to expand the participants in the project’s first cohort. The courses were hosted at Westminster-Canterbury through the Westminster/Wesleyan LifeLong Learning Institute.

Institutional Contact: Brian Kurisky, Director of Wesleyan Engaged
Phone: (757) 455-3216

Priority Area: income generation
Strategy: identifying schemes that victimize older adults

Wheeling University

Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling University’s Harvesting Health Project is building on a program that has used the campus garden to bring people together for the past few years. The first phase of this project involved getting healthy food from the garden out to the community. The second phase of this program created spaces to build relationships between older adults and college students. During 2017–2018, Wheeling University students visited weekly to play games with older adults at two residential housing centers. During 2018–2019, the project created a “buddy” program between college students and the older adults at two centers—Welty Home and Elmhurst House of Friendship. Wheeling University included additional student volunteers alongside older adult volunteers at its local Catholic Charities, since the older adults are the majority of their regular volunteer force.

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets, social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; gardening

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington
Whitman College continued its partnership with the Walla Walla Senior Citizens Center and United Way with its successful program, Men Making Meals. The 2018–2019 iteration, Seniors Making Meals, included women. The program provided older adults with basic cooking skills that many of their generation do not have. Each five-week course included classes in practical skills such as smart shopping, safe food handling, meal planning, basic cooking skills, and nutrition. After each class, college students and older adults shared the meal they prepared and developed a relationship through their shared experience with food. For college students, the program provided an opportunity to form positive intergenerational connections through food and to break down some of the stereotypes that young people often have about older adults. A second activity set forth was the expansion of an Adopt-a-Grandparent program to facilitate relationships between Whitman students and senior residents at Odd Fellows Home, a senior living facility and long-term and rehabilitation center, to create conversations and form relationships across generations. Students were matched with older adults for one-on-one meetings and participation in activities. Each weekly meeting lasted for approximately one hour. Three monthly events that raised awareness and increased interaction also were planned for students and older adults.

Institutional Contact: Noah Leavitt, Director, Student Engagement Center
Phone: (509) 527-5935

Priority Areas: healthy and nutritious diets; social isolation
Strategies: living a healthy life; using food to bring generations together

Wofford College

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Ten student leaders in 2017–2018 and eight student leaders in 2018–2019 academic years from Wofford College were selected through a competitive application process. The student leaders were each responsible for leading interactive weekly one-hour workshops. Workshops took place at two low-income housing authority sites for older adults, two community centers run by Parks and Recreation 50+ wellness program, and one assisted living facility primarily for Medicaid patients. The student leaders were asked to bring a group of student volunteers with them so that there could be a one-to-one ratio of older and younger adults. The creative activities, such as storytelling, fiction writing, or art projects, provided a way for the individuals to interact with the goal of reducing social isolation and increasing well-being in older adults. At the end of each academic year, an exhibit was held to allow the older and younger participants to view the products of the workshops and celebrate friendships that were formed.

Institutional Contact: Kara Bopp, Associate Professor of Psychology
Phone: (864) 597-4645

Priority Area: social isolation
Strategies: building relationships; applying the arts