Our seniors laugh often, are loyal to each other and are capable of loving. They deserve to be treated with dignity and one can learn a lot from them... Due to the young age of your members, they are blessed with vitality, hopes and dreams and it is my belief that these intangibles will rub off on our seniors or at least remind them of good times.
- East Village Community Partner
LINKages is proud to be a part of strengthening communities and helping improve quality of life for young and old in our city. With the generous support of United Way of Calgary and Area and The Calgary Foundation, we are establishing connections and friendships between East Village seniors and LINKages post-secondary student volunteers. LINKages works with the University of Calgary LINKages Chapter, seniors and community partners to organize and facilitate regular intergenerational community events in the East Village that strengthen community ties and engagement.
Linkages In The Community (LINC), funded by Human Rights & Multiculturalism Fund (HREM)
Thanks to financial support from HREM, LINKages was able to enhance their work in the East Village by embarking upon an environmental scan to gain first-hand insights into the issues, opportunities and potentials embedded in this community that is undergoing major redevelopments.The findings of the scan were shared with stakeholders and will inform and influence LINKages' ongoing intergenerational work in the East Village. A summary of these findings can be found in our Annual Report 2014.
Seniors and Technology
Digital Connections is a community based technology program that reaches out to independent living seniors. Through partnerships with the Youth Central, Bow Valley College, Immigrant Services Calgary and the Bridgeland Community Association, LINKages provides mobile technology sessions for seniors right where they live. While LINKages bring along computer tablets and mobile data, seniors often come along with their own technologies wanting to gain mastery of digital equipment they already have. Funding for this initiative is provided through the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors program, The Calgary Foundation and Shaw Communications.
Project Inspire is a unique partnership between United Way, United Active Living Communities, Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association, and LINKages Society that brings together 15 older adults to explore their creativity through multiple artistic mediums over the course of six weeks. The participants create a variety of art-based projects while building connections to other older adults and sharing their experiences of age and aging, reducing social isolation, and inspiring lifelong creative expression. The first cohort completed the program between May 13 and June 6, 2017 at United Active Living Garrison Green.
As part of this initial pilot, the partners participated in an evaluation led by the United Way evaluation team. Thirteen program participants and eight project team members attended focus group evaluation discussions. Participants and partners identified the following key outcomes:
Learning different art skills
Learning about other people
Increased self-esteem as a result of discovering artistic talents
Developing a sense of belonging and community building
Increasing confidence and a sense of pride through (re)discovering talents
These learnings informed the design of the program for the three new cohorts completing the six-week course to June 2018.