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Conference to Celebrate Intergenerational Programs

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In a collaborative effort, Children FIRST will join the Ravazzin Center on Aging for a conference that merges the groups’ two separate missions: one that focuses on the helping the aging, and the other which focuses on helping the young.

The event, titled “Practice Across the Lifespan: Intergenerational Work in Action,” will take place on Wed., March 9, at Fordham’s Westchester campus from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. National policy and best practices will be discussed in lectures an breakout sessions.

“We often silo child welfare and care for the aging,” said Janna Heyman, PhD, professor and director of the Ravazzin Center. “What we’re trying to foster is a way to blend the services.”

Heyman said that several studies have shown that it is mutually beneficial for children and older adults to work together on crafts, story times, dance, and play. Many of the programs she studies often operate at the same site, rather than bussing the children in from another location to be with the older adults.

“There’s a lot or rich opportunities, not just for families, but also in the broader sense of the community,” said Heyman.

She added that in the past there may have been a custom of parents living in the home to take care of grandchildren, but new programming is far larger scope bringing the custom into the community. She added that avoiding duplication of services is also a practical matter.

“Many retirees find it extremely beneficial to help students with their reading and some of the youth help the adults become computer literate,” she said. “But while there may be savings in cost, more importantly there is the value of enriching lives.”

The event is also sponsored by New York State Intergenerational Network and the Westchester County Livable Communities Intergenerational Collaborative. To resister email ajomcmahon@fordham.edu or call 914-367-3364.

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