The program features a wide array of mutually beneficial learning opportunities, as well as social, cultural and entertainment components. Benefits of this program include healthier older adults; mutual respect, sensitivity, socialization and sense of purpose; shared knowledge and learning; and, of course, happiness.
The intergenerational program that began in 2009 continues to grow in numbers of participants and scope. The structured activities range from arts and crafts, reading and interviews, to singing and lunch breaks. Chatting, snacking and the occasional hair braiding fill the less formal time. From personal and social perspectives, the friendly interaction is extraordinary.
Dramatic, positive results are recorded in healthier outcomes for residents, advanced learning skills for students, and generous media-to-public awareness. The Kids Connection program is the brainchildren of Betsy Donovan, Eskaton senior vice president and chief operating officer, and her sister Bobbi Donovan, a veteran school teacher at Kohler Elementary School in the Sacramento area’s Twin Rivers Unified School District.