Eskaton Kids Connection partners Eskaton communities with local elementary schools to create intergenerational friendships.
More than 650 students and their older adult “buddies” meet regularly each school year to read, write and share with one another. The project earned the “Inspire Award” from the Twin Rivers Unified School District and was recognized for excellence by The Eisner Foundation.
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.
The California Assisted Living Association (CALA) honored Eskaton as the winner of its 2015 Innovations in Quality award for the intergenerational program ‘Kids Connection. Read more.
If you are interested in participating in the Kids Connection program at your school or community, please contact Lyndsey Dammann, program manager at 916-334-1072.