Why does LINKages exist?
LINKages brings youth and seniors together for friendship, learning, community engagement and fun! Our experience has taught us that people – young and old – want to make a difference in their community. Our volunteers find that by giving only one hour a week, they do make a difference in their friends’ life, no matter how large the age difference.
Our program staff and our care facility partners confirm that seniors benefit greatly when meeting with their young counterparts. Seniors are pleased to discover the students are sincerely interested in their stories – they appreciate a chance to exchange their life experiences by sharing their career decisions, their adventures and dreams.
Our student volunteers likewise gain so much through their connection with their elder friend. They hear longer perspectives on life experiences and hear tales of struggle, resilience and success. They learn about their own heritage and that of others. Through volunteering, they gain a sense of the importance of community engagement, responsibility and leadership skills.
Importantly, LINKages programs help bridge gaps between generations and breaks through ageist beliefs. As they spend time together, seniors and youth understand that there really is very little difference between them and negative stereotypes and perceptions they may have held are soon discarded.
Is Linkages a registered charity?
We are a registered charity and since 1994 we have been very fortunate to witness the remarkable effects when fostering friendships between youth and seniors. We are inspired by the powerful connections that flourish between generations.
How many people are involved?
The number of people involved varies on a yearly basis, but for an example, in past years, over 750+ youth and seniors were involved in our programs. However, this number does not include those that were involved in other developments such as our Community Initiatives.
How does LINKages help Seniors?
Due to chronic illness or disabilities, many seniors living in retirement residences feel isolated, lonely and that they have little worth to society. Our programs help to open doors by adding youthful energy, laughter and friendship for the seniors. The visits with young people help seniors to realize that they are not forgotten and they begin to see that they can have a positive influence in a young person’s life.
How does LINKages help Youth?
For various reasons, young people may not have the opportunity to become acquainted with the older generation. Our programs help to provide young people with the chance to develop their social and leadership skills, as well as discover the merits and personal sense of accomplishment that is gained as a volunteer in the community. The youth volunteers gain excellent life skills by visiting with seniors. They also learn about history and traditions, careers, and how people can overcome obstacles in their lives.
What are intergenerational programs (IGPs)?
IGPs require the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and activities between generations. They may be formal or informal and they may vary in design, but they include interaction between individuals from different generations.