Earlier this month we published a story on an innovative initiative from RI College that launched this semester in which students participated in an experiential learning opportunity that facilitated development of positive relationships with community members; Connection of experiences to academic learning; And development of a deeper understanding of self and empathy and respect for others. On December 2nd, the college’s first Intergenerational Service Learning Course to Support Older Adults in the Community had their closing party.
The goal of the course is to enhance students’ awareness of aging, attitudes toward aging and help them develop skills needed to serve older adults. Students split their time between the classroom and meeting with an older adult to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. The course was taught by Sharon Galloway, D.N.P, R. N., M.Ed., Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College School of Nursing. At the closing ceremony students presented their older companions with a certificate of appreciation and spent the afternoon sharing what they learned from one another over the course of the semester. For some, it was a tearful good-bye and promises to keep in touch.
The pilot program will continue next semester with a new group of students and older adults living in the community. This initial phase of the program was developed through partnerships with Rhode Island College and community-based agencies collaborating with Age-Friendly Rhode Island.