Austin Heyman had the insight to see the importance of bringing the generations together and in 1986 he founded Interages and served as the Executive Director until 1997. In 1986, in order to improve county efforts to establish intergenerational programs, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and the Board of Education joined in a partnership to help fund the Montgomery County Intergenerational Resource Center. Interages successfully competed for the contract to operate the center.
In 1987, Interages developed the award-winning intergenerational childcare project, Grandcare. The project recruited, oriented, and placed older adults in licensed childcare centers in Montgomery County. The project was presented at a number of national conferences and received major corporate support from IBM, AT&T and Bell Atlantic, as well as support from the State of Maryland. The project was implemented for nine years and placed more than 150 adults in over 35 child-care centers.
In 1989, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services encouraged Interages to focus its work especially with needy and disadvantaged populations. In 1990, Interages created the Intergenerational Bridges mentoring project focusing on impoverished, at-risk, immigrant youngsters. The project was presented at several conferences and was named the “Mentoring Program of the Year” by the Governor of Maryland in 1997. The Points of Light Foundation recognized Bridges as a “Daily Point of Light” in 2000.
Over the years, Interages created several intergenerational programs including: the Family, the Courts, and the Constitution; Shared Rights; Dialogues Across the Ages; Televisit, Self-Esteem Through Service; Newcomers; Grandcrafters; Project SHARE; and Global Wizards. Interages also received a grant for four years to run the Across Ages Model Intergenerational Program developed by Temple University.
Over the last 30 years, Interages programs have involved more than 35,000 children and older adults in more than 100 schools and senior facilities. Interages has worked very hard to develop and implement relevant intergenerational programs that meet community needs. As the years have progressed some programs have run their natural course and concluded and some continue to this day. The Intergenerational Bridges, Project SHARE and Dialogues Across the Ages programs are still active today. Programs implemented over the last decade that are part of the solid base of Interages intergenerational programs include: Grandreaders, Read-Aloud, Intergenerational Bridges, SHARE, Makeover Madness, WoW, Mature Mentors and Math Club. In 2011, Interages celebrated 25 years of service to Montgomery County residents as the leader in intergenerational programming.
WUSA Channel 9 featured Intergenerational Bridges on its Friday’s Heroes Program.
Leah Bradley, the former Senior Director of Interages co-authored an article, Using Technology to Connect Generations: Some Considerations of Form and Function. This article was published in Comunicar, a peer-reviewed scientific, bilingual Spanish and English journal with Chinese abstracts. Now in its 22nd year, this media education research journal has published 1,638 research and studies articles. The article was selected via a rigorous and transparent blind reviewing system of manuscripts that utilizes an international, scientific editorial board of 372 reviewers from 28 countries.
The Southern Gerontological Society featured an article by Interages’ Assistant Director entitled “Engaging a Generation to Respond to the Needs of a Changing Community”, which highlights the positive impact Intergenerational Bridges mentors have on Montgomery County Public Schools students enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages program. Read the full article on page 5 of The Southern Gerontologist.
The MetLife Foundation and Generations United honored Montgomery County with the 2013 Best Intergenerational Communities Award. Read the full report to learn how Montgomery County has excelled at honoring diversity and engaging the generations.
Generations United recognized the JCA Heyman Interages Center with the prestigious “Program of Distinction” award.
Read the full press release.