Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, in partnership with St. John Fisher College, teamed up for an intergenerational program about college opportunities for 40 fourth-grade Henry Lomb School No. 20 students April 3.
The event was a culmination of a semester long sociology class, Helping Professions in Action.
Ten residents from Valley Manor, an independent living community part of ESLC, and eight students from SJFC worked together this semester through a structured curriculum that incorporates hands-on service learning. As part of their exploration of human services needs in the community, the students partnered with residents of Valley Manor to create an enriching program for students in the Rochester City School District. The team combined the philanthropy and nonprofit experience of the residents with the students’ knowledge of new approaches to social work in multicultural communities. This is the second year that the two groups have partnered.
The partnership with Henry Lomb School No. 20 is a long standing relationship with Valley Manor. The event encouraged Henry Lomb School No. 20 students to see themselves going to college.
“This has been a wonderful learning opportunity for all involved,” said Gail Reeves, manager of resident services at Valley Manor. “Intergenerational partnerships such as these are extremely meaningful to our residents, and I foresee this program continuing for many years to come.”
Patricia Tweet, assistant professor of sociology, human services concentration, in the department of sociology, anthropology and criminology at SJFC, saw this service learning opportunity as a chance for real-world experience while providing a service to the community.
“Service Learning, as part of the curriculum, provides a bridge from volunteer work to internships,” said Tweet. “The goal for this particular project was for students to discover the power of sharing knowledge of philanthropy and community-based organizations and caring and compassion across generations. This is key when planning and implementing a program to benefit children in the community.”
Lynn Donahue, director for the center for service-learning and civic engagement at SJFC, feels this partnership with Valley Manor, Henry Lomb School No. 20 and SJFC Students is enriching to all and is an example of how the college is integrating coursework with hands-on learning.
“We have an increased focus on community engagement which is essential to our overall mission,” said Donahue. “We encourage active citizens and provide opportunities for our students to serve our community.”