Intergenerational Connections Matter

What are the benefits of generations working together?

volunteer shows ribbon to teen

Children exposed to positive adult role models learn from the knowledge and experience their elders have to offer. Stereotypes and fears about youth and aging are dispelled when both generations communicate and work together. Sharing personal histories and life experience improves understanding across generations. Children learn and experience compassion and the value of community service.

Direct involvement with children helps older adults stay active and connected to their community, and provides opportunities for them to live more productive, happier lives. Older adult volunteers develop friendships with children and other volunteers that may reduce a sense of loss or isolation. Involvement in meaningful work increases each participant’s sense of personal fulfillment and self-worth.

Download our 2018 program report to learn more about what we do.

Heyman Interages Center volunteers are living proof that concerned citizens can change the world. Each year, our dedicated volunteers share their skills and friendship with students across Montgomery County to help them succeed in school and life.

Why Intergenerational Programs Matter

girl reacts in laughter over book with volunteerThe population is changing. By 2030, there will be more people over age 65 than under age 14. This will affect every aspect of our lives — from education and health care to jobs and families. To address these challenges effectively, we must educate all citizens about aging — starting with our youngest — and starting now.

However, modern society has become age-segregated — increasingly children spend time with other children, adults work outside the home with people primarily their own age, and seniors spend time in seniors-only communities, residences, and social centers. This lack of intergenerational contact allows each generation to perceive itself as separate and isolated rather than an integral part of the larger community. Often, this segregation creates misunderstanding, unfair stereotypes, and reduced quality of communal life for all.

Our programs benefit the community by:

  • Recognizing and utilizing the talents of citizens of all ages
  • Erasing stereotypes that keep age groups separate
  • Encouraging each generation to learn and benefit from each other, enriching all in the process

All the students I have had in the program over the past few years have truly excelled academically and socially. The one-on-one attention of the volunteer is incredible.

— Elementary School Reading Specialist

Interages serves the community by championing mutually beneficial volunteer opportunities for older adults and youth to interact and learn from one another while fostering respect between generations and appreciation of diversity.

In addition, Interages:

  • Models effective intergenerational programs
  • Disseminates information and provides training and technical assistance
  • Facilitates communication among entities with intergenerational interests

Please enjoy this pdf version of the book Bringing Generations Together by Alexis Bentz and Sue Jeweler.

“The purpose of Bringing Generations Together is to create an awareness of the benefits of intergenerational relationships. This book will provide research that illustrates the value of making connections between young people and older adults and offer a variety of activities that can be used to ignite exciting, meaningful relationships between the generations. We believe that this book will inspire others to embark on this adventure together – just as we have!”

grandfather and grandson paint together

Awards and Honors

Over the years, Interages has received numerous awards for our intergenerational work, including the following:

  • Program of Distinction by Generations United
  • Best Small Charities of Greater Washington by the Catalogue for Philanthropy
  • Award of Excellence in Older Volunteer Program Management by the MetLife Foundation and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
  • Award for Distinguished Service to Public Education by the Montgomery County Board of Education
  • Mentoring Program of the Year by the Maryland Governor