There are many positive benefits of Sharing the Caring being part of the programs at Third Street Alliance. Perhaps the greatest is that this program shares a building with The Learning Center.
Sharing the Caring hosts The Learning Center children twice a week, and the two groups enjoy special events throughout the year, playing ball or bingo-type games, or enjoying programming by different groups and musicians that come into Third Street Alliance.
For our clients, it is a treat to interact with the kids. The moment the youngsters walk through the door, the faces of the older folks immediately light up and smile, welcoming their visitors.
Sharing the Caring staff have witnessed the many positive effects of the clients and the children when it comes to intergenerational activities. The children who grow up in The Learning Center, from toddler to preschool, know their favorite clients names.
The kids know Tom from his silly, fun demeanor, and likes to pat their heads and give them high-fives before they leave. Barbara looks forward to the kids coming, shows a huge interest in everything they do and offers whichever child who is sitting next to her positive reinforcement in the activity.
Studies show the overall mood is more positive and engagement is higher among elders during intergenerational activities, then during single-generation activities.
Shared sites place older adults in mentoring roles during programming with young children, and has benefited elder participants, their freedom of choice and initiative. They remain calm for some time after the kids leave the room.
Children benefit from the interaction, becoming more comfortable around people with disabilities and receiving a sense of purpose when they are able to teach or help one of the clients. They also feel more comfortable interacting with elders they meet outside of Third Street Alliance.
For information about how your loved one can benefit from this and other Sharing the Caring activities contact Mahparah at 610-258-6271.
-Yvonne Toth, Sharing the Caring
*Editor’s Note: Generations United, a national organization that focuses on improving the lives of children, youth and older people through intergenerational programs, has a study available on shared site programs and can be found here. Information in this article was found in their study.