The City of Summerside Age-friendly City Committee (AFCC) is looking for seniors ages 55+ and youth ages 12+ to participate in an Intergenerational program. The program is open to all residents of Prince County. It started on January 9th 2018, and there is still time to get involved.
Youth can choose a senior to partner with according to their interests, life experiences, and career path. This match can help youth learn about a wide range of topics such as horsemanship, genealogy, engineering, teaching, banking, technology, medicine, and many more.
The AFCC is in year four of a five-year plan to help Summerside become age-friendly. This year is dedicated to promoting relationships between seniors and youth so they can connect and learn from each other.
Peter Holman, Co-Chair of Age-friendly Cities Committee for the City of Summerside, says the intergenerational program will provide an opportunity for seniors and youth to be viewed as leaders and contributors in the community. “It is also an opportunity to develop relationships, build connections, and enhance understanding and appreciation between generations.”
“The first event pairing youth with seniors according to their interests and careers took place on January 9,” says Shirleen O’Brien, Age-friendly Coordinator. “We have many seniors who have a great interest in pairing with youth who have registered for the project.”
Further meetings will take place at mutually-agreed upon public venues. The final gathering, which will be open to the public, is The Wisdom and Experience Fair at Credit Union Place (CUP) on February 24, from 9 am to 4 pm. Refreshments will be provided for all participants and attendees.
The City of Summerside AFCC and the Mayor and Council hope that more youth will join in the month of February and come to the last gathering at CUP, where they can talk with people who can share their interests and careers.
Prince County is rapidly aging. Statistics Canada showed the following demographics for 2016:
- 16,220 residents were 55 and over
- 9,210 residents were 65 and over
- 1,000 residents were 85 and over
- Total residents over 55: 26,430
- Total population: 43,730
Peter says there is a critical need to involve seniors in the community. “We picked this project to engage youth because we think both groups of people have so much to offer one another.”
Benefits of the program to seniors and youth
“For seniors, it is about inclusion,” says Shirlene. “Getting people out of their homes to participate and develop long-term friendships is so important. It is about self-worth and a feeling of belonging. They will find it so rewarding to have a youth take the time to ask questions and value their knowledge. Also, there is much value in listening to youth about their experiences in today’s world and comparing to their own.”
“Youth will benefit from a wealth of knowledge when they meet a senior who is willing to share and is interested in what they are doing,” says Peter. “They can stay connected through texting or social media and remain in contact to keep the support and trust going.
“Both groups offer rich experience and wisdom, and this is one avenue to meet and begin a rewarding connection.”
To join the Intergenerational program, youth and seniors can call Shirlene O’Brien at 902-206-1352 or email [email protected].
To view a CBC interview about the program, visit www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-summerside-inter-generational-mentorship-1.4480330.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.