Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cumberland & Salem Counties (BBBS) is partnering with Friends Village at Woodstown, a continuing care retirement community, on an innovative intergenerational program designed to improve community wellness for two of our most vulnerable populations, youth and aging adults. Through the “Generation to Generation” program, which was launched in 2018, Village residents are matched with youth in order to share their talents, experiences, knowledge and skills in a mentoring relationship. Such efforts can provide benefits to all involved and foster life-enhancing growth, understanding, and friendship.
“Innovative partnerships with community organizations such as Friends Village are an important part of our efforts to provide opportunities for mentoring relationships which can change lives for the better” said Donna Bennett, President and CEO at BBBS. “Further, by bringing the generations together, we’re working to realize the potential of longer lives, the potential of every child, and the power of older and younger generations working side by side for change.”
As part of the program, mentors and youth “Matches” meet every two weeks at Friends Village throughout the year. The meetings are supervised by BBBS case managers with additional assistance from Friends Village staff members. Activities include yoga classes, tutoring sessions, campus tours, puzzles/games, arts and crafts, walking trail excursions, guest speakers (healthy eating, effective communication, internet safety, and more.), indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts, and additional activities as identified by the Matches.
“The program is focused on the development and wellness of both seniors and our youth,” Bennett continued. “Seniors who take part in the program can increase their level of physical activity, improve cognitive abilities, reduce boredom, and develop new relationships in the community. Students who take part can build effective communications skills, increase their physical activity, improve school attendance and their overall attitudes about school, reduce risky behaviors, and become better engaged in the community.”
For more information on the Generation to Generation program, volunteer opportunities, or additional ways to support Big Brothers Big Sisters Cumberland Salem, please contact Gloria Thompson at 856.692.0916, or visit our website at www.southjerseybigs.org.
About Friends Village of Woodstown: Friends Village is a nonprofit, continuing care retirement community founded on Quaker principles that promote independence with choice, respect and security. Friends Village at Woodstown staff and volunteers operate with intent to exceed the needs and expectations of our seniors through compassionate care, innovation, and continuous improvement. Our guiding focus is to connect older adults with the resources available to them on our campus and throughout the surrounding communities.