Closing the Generation Gap and Making an Impact on the Community

When I was young, I used to joke about the "older generation." Now I am the older generation.

Nevertheless, I am satisfied at this point in my life because I get to connect young people and older adults through a series of projects in the real and the virtual world. It's a win-win situation, I often explain. Examples of fruitful projects include podcasting, seminars, discussions groups, and blogs. This approach to fostering relationships and creating bonds between young and older people is at the core of the Gen2Gen program and Encore.org.

Studies have also shown that older adults is a demographic group that is underused by organizations and businesses. Think of how your organization or business could benefit from retirees, and other older adults who bring a wealth of experience and skills that can make an impact.

On Oahu, older adults have the opportunity to share their wisdom and experience with young people in a series of programs that focus on red-hot issues like bullying and teen dating violence. In addition, older adult volunteers have conducted "career talks" with high school students. A young person can spend hours googling to gather information about various careers, but the best way to really get an accurate picture of what it's like to work in a specific profession is to talk to someone working in that field.

So call them a mentor, coach or role model, an older adult meeting and collaborating with youth can make a significant and lasting impact on their community and beyond. Want to know more, just ask me.

Studies have shown that older adults who are not active and involved in something meaningful are more likely to suffer from depression and other physical and mental health problems.

Many older adults may have worked until a certain age and then retired and/or lost a spouse or partner. Now, their days are filled with uncertainty and even emptiness. That doesn't have to be their reality.

Non-profits and other organizations are in need of volunteers, and especially older adults who can share their wisdom and experience with younger people.

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