The California Assisted Living Association (CALA) honored Eskaton as the winner of its 2015 Innovations in Quality award for the intergenerational program ‘Kids Connection.’
Eskaton partners with local schools to bring nearly 650 elementary school children together ‘buddies’ residing in 23 senior living communities. Students and seniors enjoy reading books, doing arts projects, signing songs and much more. “This is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding educational programs in which I have been involved,” said one teacher, noting these relationships transcend cultural, economic and generational barriers.
The program began in 2009 and has since shown dramatic, positive results for residents, while advancing learning skills for students. “This is not just an opportunity for kids to entertain the elderly,” said Eskaton Senior Vice President COO Betsy Donovan. “It’s an opportunity for true engagement and the development of real relationships.
Through Kids Connection, Eskaton is able to create intergenerational learning opportunities, increase resident socialization and satisfaction, introduce children to new educational stimuli and build the nonprofit’s identity as a vibrant organization involved in creative, multi-generational endeavors that inevitably further its social accountability,” Donovan said.
Many students in the program do not have older adults in their lives, so it is imperative to their overall development to build relationships with someone who is experienced in life.
Eskaton Kids Connection can be replicated in any school district, as long as the main objectives of the guide are implemented and remain consistent. For more information on the CALA award, visit http://www.eskaton.org/kids-connection/landing.html.