August 21, 2014

Today was the final day that Generations of Us would meet, and we gathered to celebrate the sharing and bridge building that went on over the last two weeks.  Our celebration took place at the Atlas Senior Center, and it was open to the public, but most people in attendance were participants in the project.

We listened to clips from the 10 different 40 minute long interviews to highlight just a few of the stories and experiences that were shared.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Most participants were wearing their “Talk to young/old People, they know cool stuff you don’t” t-shirts, and a few of our young and older people shared their reflections on the program. I think that the pictures show the passion and authenticity with which experiences were shared and here are just a few:

We then played a few rounds of BINGO with t-shirts as prizes.

We ended the presentation and celebration with food and social fun, and I shared a quote that inspired me as a facilitator throughout the project, “When the old are not allowed to tell their story, the young grow up without history.  If the young are not listened to, we have no future.” –Dr. Gunhild O. Hagostad

These ideas that building relationships with people across the age spectrum is worthwhile and having a space for intergenerational dialogue creates meaning are what we need to help to promote peace within ourselves and our communities. The power of the story is real, and we saw that with Generations of Us on the south side of Chicago.

I would also like to take this last opportunity to thank all of the people and organizations that made Generations of Us possible, including the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace, the International House at the University of Chicago, the Atlas Senior Center, and the South Side Help Center.  It has been an honor to be able to plan, implement, and manage this project, and I want to mention a few individuals who gave enormous amount to support me and this project:
• Laura Rosenberg of I-House for encouraging me to apply for the grant and for helping with all of the administrative tasks
• Marcus Flenaugh and Mr. P of the South Side Help Center for seeing the vision and helping to make it happen each day
• Robyn Tillotson of the Atlas Senior Center for hosting the project and supporting its evolution
• Jeffrey Solotoroff of the UCM South Shore Senior Health Clinic for being a mentor and helping me to edit the grant and the curriculum
• My I-House gang of friends—Lauren, Courtney, and Shuana—for the broccoli
• My family for always being there
• And most of all to the participants—young and old—for bringing their passion, energy, and dedication to the project each day.  What a group!  Talk to us, we know cool stuff that you don’t!

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