New Intergenerational Program Created by CHS Students

New Intergenerational Program Created by CHS Students

Karin Juhl and Claudia Brown

Photo submitted by Emma Bartels
Six of the eight members of Generational Connect play an icebreaker game in a CMS classroom during the program’s second informational meeting.

Generational Connect is a new program created this year by seniors Emma Bartels and Cambria Deehr with the goal to connect students at Chilton Middle School with senior citizens from the community.

The project was created in Bartels and Deehr’s Social Marketing independent study class with Mrs. Kelly Moehn, a CHS business and computer science teacher. This class was specifically designed to help them prepare for their future pursuits.

Next year, Bartels is planning on majoring in communications/marketing with community involvement at Northern Michigan University, and Deehr will be majoring in political science and public relations/public policy. Deehr has not yet committed to a particular college.

“The objective of the class was to learn about social marketing and how to positively impact others around us,” Bartels said. “The course was centered around creating and implementing a program that would mutually benefit both our school and community.”

The Generational Connect program was designed to build connections between generations in the Chilton community. The program matches up adult members of the community and members of the CMS Student Council.

After being paired up, the students are participating in one-on-one activities with their mentor/mentee a couple times a month during the school day. Along with this, they will work on satisfying the goals they personally want to achieve in this program.

For example, a student’s goal could be learning how to start a conversation, and a mentor’s goal could be learning shortcuts on the iPad or cellphone.

Photo submitted by Emma Bartels
One of the four pairs of mentors and mentees in the Generational Connect program play double solitaire during their first meeting.

Seventh-grader Virginia Moehn, a student participant in the program, said, “I’m hoping to get closer to my partner, Gail, and learn basic Spanish and sign language.”

Bartels said throughout the program she hopes participants will be able to make connections with the community members through teaching each other new things, talking and doing different activities.

“This is an opportunity for multi generations to learn and understand different perspectives. We can work together to make the world a kinder and more caring place,” said Mrs. Gail Geiser, one of the senior participants in the program.

“I think students can learn realistic life skills. Students can make practical connections to what they are learning in school through discussions with people of other generations and other background experiences. I think the older generation will be able to challenge their mindset, develop current trends in technology, science, social pressures,” Mrs. Geiser said. “Both the young and old will develop companionship, have some fun and feel a sense of pride in helping one another.”

Bartels and Deehr first started working on this project by brainstorming ideas that could benefit the community. Their idea for Generational Connect was ideal as it would be easier than their other ideas to attain in their timeframe (the project needed to be completed by the end of the first semester).

After brainstorming, Bartels and Deehr had to present their ideas to CMS Principal Mr. Matt Kiel and CHS Principal Mr. Shawn Rude for approval. After

that, they began reaching out to community members and deciding which middle school students to contact.

“We decided on Student Council members to gain interest in our program because we wanted to start out smaller to work out kinks before opening it to the whole school,” Bartels said.

Once they received interest from a few community members and CMS Student Council members, the participants filled out an interest survey to help match partners.