Press Release

Six Intergenerational Programs Selected as Programs of Distinction

Designation serves as the U.S. benchmark for intergenerational programs.

WASHINGTON, DC – Generations United announced six intergenerational programs selected to receive the prestigious 2019 Programs of Distinction designation. The six programs are: Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (Gaithersburg, MD), Lakeshore Family Center Intergenerational Project (Irving, NY), LinkAGES Colorado (Pine, CO), Motion Picture Television Fund Volunteer Program (Woodland Hills, CA), Second Acts Grandparent Volunteer Program (Milwaukee, WI), and SMART Reading (Portland, OR).

“We congratulate these programs for earning this distinction and their dedication to high-quality intergenerational practices,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “The Program of Distinction designation is the only U.S. ‘seal of approval’ for intergenerational programs. The application and review process are rigorous. Achieving this recognition is a major accomplishment and says a program employs best practices and effectively engages young and old while serving the surrounding community.”

Generations United launched the Program of Distinction designation in 2010 to recognize excellence while celebrating the rich diversity among intergenerational programs.  An outside panel of experts selects designees based on evidence-based standards for quality programming, such as preparing participants, staff training, partner engagement, and use of evaluation data. Currently, 43 intergenerational programs from across the nation have an active Program of Distinction designation, which is valid for three years.

Intergenerational programs are those which increase cooperation, interaction and exchange between people of different generations, allowing them to share their talents and resources, and support each other in relationships that benefit both the individuals and their community.

Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (http://bit.ly/GaithersburgBeloved) – an independent organization located at Asbury Methodist Village, a large retirement community of 1400 residents in Gaithersburg, MD– administers seven intergenerational programs involving 120-plus older adult volunteers and hundreds of participants. The initiative helps build resilience in vulnerable children and youth by focusing on social-emotional competency. Additionally, it improves the lives of families in the Gaithersburg area through advocacy work with Action in Montgomery, a community-based organization.

Lakeshore Family Center Intergenerational Project (www.lakeshorefamilycenter.org) is a shared site intergenerational program in Irving, NY that provides full-day childcare for children six week through twelve years of age, while offering social model adult day care to serve older adults with a variety of physical, psychological, and social needs. Shared activities include baking, sewing, bingo, exercise, music, and crafts. These friendships are strengthened in the relaxed, home-like environment of the Center. In addition to regular planned activities, both children and adults – affectionately known as “grandmas” and “grandpas” – enjoy spontaneous time together during the day.

LinkAGES Colorado (www.facebook.com/linkagescolorado) is a collaborative initiative in the Metro Denver region with a vision of preventing and reducing social isolation by creating opportunities to develop meaningful relationships across generations. This is happening through collaboration, leveraging resources and building capacity of organizations and individuals to develop and implement intergenerational efforts.

At the Motion Picture Television Fund Volunteer Program (www.MPTF.com), located in Southern California, their intergenerational volunteer program is embedded in the very heart of their mission to support the entertainment community in living and aging well, with dignity and purpose, and in helping each other in times of need. From their junior volunteers starting at age 14 to their oldest at age 96, volunteers and retirees form meaningful connections that can enhance the quality of life and sense of well-being of both their retirees and the volunteers. Through these shared volunteer experiences, generations come together and find purpose, learn from one another, and meet the needs for companionship, assistance, and fulfill the promise of social engagement and connection.

Second Acts Grandparent Volunteer Program (www.ladlake.org), located in Milwaukee, WI, recruits, trains and on-boards volunteers who are 50+ in age, to build positive relationships with their clients (at risk youth ranging in age from 8-21). The program is run by Lad Lake, which was selected as one of ten national projects sites for the National Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, in partnership with Encore.org, Second Acts for Strong Communities initiative. The initiative was designed to identify sites that had an interest in recruiting, hiring and supporting individuals 50 years and older (Second Acts talent) looking to contribute to their communities through meaningful and engaging work.

SMART Reading (www.SMARTreading.org), based in Portland, OR, is a children’s literacy nonprofit that serves kids in Oregon’s highest need schools with two ingredients critical for literacy and learning success: one-on-one reading time and access to books. The organization mobilizes volunteers of all ages to read with Pre-K through third-grade children, fostering intergenerational relationships that build children’s self-confidence, literacy skills and a love of reading. In return, Oregonians receive a meaningful way to make a direct impact on future generations right in their own backyard. The simple magic and joy of a shared book can change the life trajectory for Oregonians big and small.

Learn more about what it means to be a Program of Distinction and other programs that have received the designation.

About Generations United: For over three decades, Generations United’s mission has been to improve the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all. We have been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together.  We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged. www.gu.org.