Through the Honor Society for Phi Kappa Phi, The University of Findlay was awarded a $2,500 grant to implement a 32-week literacy and communication program in collaboration with the Macklin Intergenerational Institute in Findlay. The program will begin in the spring of 2015.
Candace Hendershot, Ph.D., health professions adjunct faculty member and wellness coordinator, and Marjorie Walker, Ed.D., associate professor and chair of nursing, will oversee the University’s literacy outreach program, which will unite children and seniors to introduce and reintroduce them to the power of communication and collaboration. The literacy program will offer a setting in which children can learn to appreciate books by reading on their own and while being read to, and the seniors receive support in reading to the children.
Additionally, the program will foster constructive intergenerational relationships and give 20-30 UF students hands-on experience with learning how intergenerational interactions affect dimensions of wellness.
The University students will conduct weekly story time sessions and encourage educational interactions by observing and physically supporting the senior adults reading to the children. The children will take the books home to read with their parents, as well, reinforcing positive attitudes toward education. The books purchased with the grant funding will be kept in an on-site library to be used by the residents and the Institute.
At the end of the 32-week program, the University will host a one-day session with a children’s book illustrator who will share how and why pictures in books elicit emotions and thoughts.
Creating opportunities for children and older adults to form relationships and engage in conversations and activities is an excellent method to support literacy education for a lifetime. By establishing a literacy program in an intergenerational setting, children and adults will learn to work together on literacy skills to live fuller, independent, healthier lives.
The Institute, which is located in Birchaven Village, governs Marilyn’s Lifelong Educational Center, which fosters daily interactions between their childcare’s children and the senior adult residents in a homelike setting. The relaxed environment emulates the family home, meaningful interaction is emphasized and multi-age relationships are built.