Senior Corps Senior Corps Corporation for National and Community Service
Research: Intergenerational Efforts

Senior Corps and America’s Promise:
Young and Old Serving Together: Supporting Goal Five

Senior Corps is continuing its tradition of creating opportunities for young and old to serve their communities together — side-by-side as partners and team members. The benefits of this intergenerational service are bi-directional. For young participants the opportunity to serve their communities is enhanced by:

  • Dispelling inaccurate stereotypes about older persons and their roles in society;
  • Developing a stronger sense of community responsibility and the value of personal sacrifice and individual contributions to a greater whole;
  • Forming interpersonal relationships with older persons who can provide guidance, wisdom, support, and friendship; and
  • Learning about and developing an appreciation for rich cultural heritages, traditions and histories.

Local Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) projects have a rich legacy of engaging senior volunteers in joint service activities and projects with children and young people. The experience and leadership demonstrated by Senior Corps programs will help to ensure that young people can give back to their communities through service.

RSVP of Lehigh County, Allentown, Pennsylvania
RSVP of Lehigh County, in partnership with the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation, has developed a community garden for adjudicated youth serving 200 or more hours of service. RSVP volunteers serve as mentors and community gardeners. Side by side, young and old till the soil, plant, maintain and harvest the fruits of the garden. Rodale Institute provides money for seeds and plants, while a master gardener from the Penn State Cooperative Extension serves as a technical expert. Over the past two years, the garden has yielded 3000 pounds of fresh vegetables, which are harvested and donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, serving ten counties in northeast Pennsylvania.

Greater St. Paul RSVP, St. Paul, Minnesota
For the past four years, RSVP volunteers and young volunteers (ages 13-18) have served as team members in three St. Paul elementary schools. Their mission is to teach cultural, health and safety awareness skills to kindergarten through fourth grade students in after school programs. The intergenerational members also make time for team building, and the RSVP volunteers are valued and trusted mentors to the young people who serve along side.

FGP/RSVP/SCP of Elder Care Services, Inc., Tallahassee, Florida
In December 1997, the Senior Corps projects sponsored by Elder Care Services, Inc. entered into an agreement with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to implement a new program targeted to frail older persons in the community. Teams of 30 Senior Corps volunteers and 60 at-risk youth volunteers are serving side-by-side to deliver in-home chore, homemaker and respite services for family caregivers. The young volunteers are referred through local youth organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club.

Please send questions or comments to: [email protected].