Collaboration of the Generations (CoG) is a program bridging two participant demographics—older adults and school age children. The objectives of this program are:
to engage older adult residents to utilize their talents and resources to improve the quality of their lives as well as the lives of the students of participating schools;
to engage the students in the arts and literacy;
to provide students with a localized historical perspective;
to further an intergenerational understanding;
and to build community through a final performance designed as a neighborhood celebration.
A model program might include one or two workshops for the elders alone, one or two workshops for the students alone, three or four workshops with the students and elders together and a culminating event where students share the elders’ stories.
The Glick Fund funded collaborative projects with low income students and seniors at three schools and five senior facilities in Marion County, serving a total of 94 youth and 54 seniors.
Collaboration of the Generations
About the Creative Team
The Creative Process
Some students and seniors collaborated through music and drumming while others connected through dance.
Teaching artist Melli Hoppe used elements of dance and warm-up exercises as a medium for students to connect with elders. Participants took part in group exercises, working together to create shapes and choreography. These collaborative exercises connected the different generations and provided an avenue to further the understanding of intergenerational bonding.
Teaching artist Lawrence Clark helped students and seniors collaborate through rhythm and drumming. He worked first with elders to encourage the sharing of their stories with youth, and then worked with the students to create music which illustrated those stories. Participants bonded, forging intergenerational relationships, through practicing drumming together and by working together to create a narrative experience using both stories and music.
Meaningful Student Learning
From Amy Black, Partner Place: "…the [Collaboration of the Generations] experience has been great for both seniors and children. The seniors have become confident and inspired to continue to share."
From Markeeta Hutchinson, Family Development Coordinator at Forest Manor Multi-Services Center: "The seniors learned how to listen to the children and realize that they have voices too."
In today’s society, there seems to be contrasting communication styles between generations. Today’s younger generation seems to especially value openness and creativity. Collaboration of the Generations provided an interactive and creative way to bridge the gap between elders, or Generation X, and students, or Generation Z. Learning to embrace, respect, and communicate with older adults and utilize their talents and resources encouraged students to use a new perspective while being engaged with the arts. With today’s society growing more and more diverse, being willing to bond with other generations who differ greatly from our own is becoming more important.
Thank you to The Glick Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, for their support of our Collaborations of the Generations program! Through the support of donors like these, Arts for Learning is able to continue bringing quality arts in education programming to children and senior citizens all over the state of Indiana!
CoG positively impacted both students and elders by fostering new relationships that take advantage of generational differences. Through creative arts experiences, inter-generational understanding and bonds were created, and local seniors were provided with social interactions which proved to be powerful and meaningful. Program participants experienced quality interactions, demonstrated a better understanding of cross-generational communication. Students were introduced to positive role models and demonstrated improved social and communications skills. Further, all participants gained knowledge of the art forms presented by the teaching artists.