Bridging the Generational Gap – Intergenerational Program launched to improve wellbeing and build long-lasting relationships

An inspiring Intergenerational Program has launched at together2 where Year 9 and 10 students from Sydney Secondary College, Leichhardt come together with the local seniors to engage and interact with each other on a weekly basis.

The program, launched by together2’s community team, seeks to improve wellbeing in both youth and seniors whilst also providing the opportunity for each of the generations to get to know each other and develop friendships and bonds.

Despite being of two generations, the students and seniors have gotten on like they have known each other for the longest time.

“Initially I asked these students to come along because I believed they had the necessary inter-personal skills to make a meaningful contribution to the program but in no way could I envisage how well they would apply themselves and be open to the experience. I learnt a lot about them too!” said Anthony Brien, Careers advisor at Sydney Secondary Leichhardt.

Whilst also developing friendships and bonds, the program also seeks to improve self esteem, communication skills and overall confidence.

“I think one of the great benefits of the program is that students get to see the value of having meaningful face to face conversations with someone and the positive feelings and sense of belonging that is a byproduct of that engagement. So much of their day-to-day communication revolves around a phone so I hope they have learnt that taking the time to sit and talk with someone can be enjoyable too”, said Anthony.

From ‘Get to know you Bingo’, Gentle Yoga, painting and Tik Tok Challenges, the intergenerational program is filled with a number of fun activities to help encourage, positive interaction between the generations.

One of the key highlights of the program has been the ‘Get to know you Bingo’ where gasps of disbelief from the mature ladies were heard as students professed they had no idea what a ‘VHS’ player was and giggles were had as students gave insight into who Justin Bieber is.

“Initially I was really quite apprehensive to be part of the program, I had no idea what to expect or howthe students would be or if we would even connect, but as soon as the program started we couldn’t stop chatting, we learnt so much about each other and it was fascinating to hear the experiences and life of the students, said Moira, one of the seniors participants.

“We had so much fun together and I can’t wait to do it again,” said Julie, another one of the seniors participants. By breaking down generational barriers, the program is designed to promote better understanding between the generations and seeks to dispel negative stereotypes about both generations.

Upon finishing the program, students had said they didn’t realise seniors could be so “fun and cool” and the seniors said their communication with teenagers really improved.

Intergenerational Programs at together2 will be continuing next year.

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