Linking the Ages

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Neighborhood Connections to Health

As part of our work to improve connectivity among generations of Freehold’s community members, our Intergenerational Physical Activity subgroup created the Linking the Ages  program to bring together Freehold community members through various activities. The program took place at the YMCA Community Center in Freehold, to provide easier accessibility to participants from throughout the community. All events were free, open to the public, and met every other week, for a total of five sessions.

One Linking the Ages session included creating terrariums as a fun arts and crafts project that allowed everyone to get their hands dirty. Participants chose a plastic bowl and were able to fill it with soil, rocks, and different types of small plants. Little umbrellas were used to decorate and personalize each terrarium. This small, quick project made timeless memories for all ages.

In another Linking the Ages event, Beth Stamp, a 15-year Tai-chi practitioner, demonstrated the martial art form. Participants learned the yang style (short form) of the Tai-chi Walk. Stamp then incorporated different movements including “part the horse’s mane” and “cloud hands” to help with participants’ balance and coordination.

On the last day of the program, we partnered with the Community Affairs & Resource Center: CARC, to teach participants the importance of eating healthy with a demonstration of blending different types of smoothies that everyone was able to sample. These quick and easy smoothies included fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and pineapples. Between all the flavors of fruit, everyone was eager to try all the different concoctions.

Each event ended with meditation, and participants offered feedback for the day’s activity to improve the program and to find out which activities participants would like to do next. One senior community member said she felt “in her second childhood” coming to this program, while another explained how participating in the intergenerational program was “fun since her grandkids don’t live close.” The children who attended expressed their love and excitement for the different activities. In the end, our Linking the Ages program was a huge success in bringing the community together.

We are currently planning a program based on our survey results from a summer focus group. Connect with us for more updates!

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Francesca Denbigh
Neighborhood Connections to Health