After having a fantastic experience volunteering in middle school with seniors with dementia, Marley found that there was no similar program at Dedham High School. Marley was motivated to start her own volunteer group and reached out to Hebrew Senior Life and the administrators at DHS.
The Dedham High School Multigenerational Program's main goal is to utilize connections in both DHS and Newbridge on the Charles to create meaningful and enriching multigenerational interactions. Students meet with residents to aid them in learning how to use technologies such as a new phone or iPad. Groups of two students meet with residents in their rooms for friendly visits. Students coordinate group activities which connect residents with others and bridges gaps between programs at Newbridge. Students and older adults learn from each other and build friendships.
Marley won the OMEGA Scholarship in 2018.
Caroline had volunteered in senior housing for years and noticed that many senior communities lack intergenerational social programs. At the same time, she felt that Noble and Greenough School could benefit from creating connections to older adults in the community. As a result, she worked with the community service director at Nobles to create the Golden Dawgs.
The Golden Dawgs works to connect local seniors with high school students at Nobles through social events and activities such as instrumental and vocal concerts, theatrical performances, English and painting classes, and luncheons. Golden Dawgs works with Newbridge Hebrew Senior Life, the Simon C Fireman Community, and communities that are part of Dedham Housing. Through these events, students help prevent social isolation among older adults, learn about the issues that affect them, and how they can become involved in advocacy.
Caroline won the OMEGA Scholarship in 2017 and 2018.
As Ella watched her grandparents get older, she noticed how hard it was for them to give up doing things they loved—teaching, volunteering, and cooking—because their age made everything harder. As a result, she helped found Bridges: Lifelong Journeys Club at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School to create a place for older adults to feel helpful, respected, admired, and valued. The club allows older adults can come share stories, impart their wisdom, and know that they are being heard.
Bridges aims to create a close-knit community of high school students and older adults. Once every 2 weeks, a group of older adults come to the high school to meet with the club. Students and older adults have snacks and discuss current events or new things in their lives. Every meeting has a theme with a set of discussion questions or a short craft or activity.
Ella won the OMEGA Scholarship in 2017.
After noticing a lack of senior outreach at Newton South High School, Anna decided to team up with her friends and teachers to create Crossing Generations. Crossing Generations aims to facilitate intergenerational friendships and dialogue between seniors and teenagers in Newton. Students collaborate with the Newton Senior Center, Newton City Hall, Historic Newton, and the Newton Free Library to hold senior center socials and themed parties, host gerontology speakers, attend memory cafes, and conduct veterans' interviews. In addition to connecting with their community, Crossing Generations exposes students to the fields of gerontology and aging research.
Anna won the OMEGA Scholarship in 2017.
In middle school, Rachel volunteered at her local senior center and became familiar with the Sages and Seekers program through her neighbors. When she matriculated in Natick High School she was already passionate about breaking generational stereotypes and decided to bring Sages and Seekers to NHS.
Sages and Seekers strives to combat social isolation and dissolve age-related segregation within communities while meeting the need of both young adults and older adults to make sense of their lives. This is achieved through conversation. The eight-week program recruits 10 high school students and matches them with 10 older adults. The pairs meet one-on-one each week, share important artifacts from their lives, and learn from each other. Students learn empathy, develop self-esteem and social-emotional skills, and learn to value the older adults in their communities.
Rachel won the OMEGA Scholarship in 2018.