Essential to the diversity we are rightly proud of in Rockville is the inter-generational nature of our neighborhoods. I am proud that I helped establish our Village several years ago with a very insistent mentor and friend.
Today at the Rockville Senior Citizens Commission’s Candidate Forum, one of the other candidates brought up my friend and mentor, who needs a little more help than she did several years ago, and inadvertently described my son and some of the things he helps her with. I’m glad he appreciates my family’s commitment to service. The pairing of teenagers with senior neighbors is one of the best things that a Village can do for a neighborhood. I see the self-esteem my son has developed in part because he knows how impactful it can be to help others, and having an older friend makes him feel like a real community member. I know their visits do her good, as well, and not just because her lawn gets mowed or her snow shoveled.
Some of the specific ideas I shared this morning at the Senior Center are things we can do to foster inter-generational diversity so that we’re caring for one another at every age.
- Encouraging job sharing between teenagers and seniors who want a part-time job. School has become so demanding it can be hard for kids to have a job, so why not share a part-time position with a senior who can mentor them as they enter the work force.
- Advocating with MCPS to offer yard work for seniors as a P.E. credit as other districts around the country have done.
- Offering service-learning hours through the neighborhood Villages.
The City of Rockville is rightly committed to diversity, and that commitment should be reflected in how we translate diversity into inclusion both within the senior population and between the senior population and the broader community. Diverse needs don’t end at 60, and our seniors continue to have much to contribute to Rockville.
What I’m reading:
Bliss, Laura. “7 Reasons Why Aging Riders Need Better Transit.” CityLab, 4 Aug. 2017, www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/08/older-people-will-need-much-better-transit/535806/.
Goodyear, Sarah, et al. “What Does ‘Livable’ Mean to Older Americans?” CityLab, 15 May 2014, www.citylab.com/solutions/2014/04/what-does-livable-mean-older-americans/8968/.
Henkin, Nancy, and Emily Patrick. “Intergenerational: Grantmakers in Aging.” Intergenerational | Grantmakers in Aging, Grantmakers in Aging, https://www.giaging.org/issues/intergenerational-strategies/.