Ring House Promotes Intergenerational Relationships

Ring House Promotes Intergenerational Relationships

When Students and Seniors Collaborate, All Participants are Mutually Enriched

Residents at Ring House are taking advantage of some pretty special intergenerational projects organized by Deborah Rittenhouse, Activities Coordinator/Arts Specialist, in close collaboration with visiting students from C & T Youth Academy, an after-school learning center in Montgomery County specializing in technology-based coursework. In what has been named the "Interages Program," students from grades 5 to 11, many of whom are bi-lingual, consider the opportunity to work side-by-side with our seniors as an unusually broadening experience. Their parents share this belief as well.

Ring.Technology HelpersTechnology Helpers: Over the school year, C & T students help our seniors develop skills and understanding of their technology devices (computers, reading tablets, smartphones) so they can take full advantage of the many available features. Mastering email accounts, Skyping, accessing online resources and more can be a snap for millions of people but our elderly flourish with some extra patient assistance offered by these industrious young "teachers."

Ring House Intergenerational Garden: Students have helped our avid gardeners plant an array of wildflowers to attractRing House Gardener butterflies. Photography projects employing digital cameras and smartphone cameras have helped residents further the pleasure derived from working in a natural environment.

Digital Journey Map: Over the summer, students and residents walked outdoors, shared stories, and explored the beauty of our unique landscaping endeavors. Using a smartphone GPS navigational system, the group made a map of Ring House grounds, including the intergenerational garden and a neighboring pond.

Intergenerational Photography Exhibit: Most of the intergenerational sessions at Ring house are photographed by both residents and C & T students. A selection of their photos will be mounted and displayed at an exhibit opening in October with a reception, date to be announced.

Ms. Rittenhouse sums up the Interages Program with five "c" words: Connect, Communicate, Collaborate, Co-Create, Contribute. Over the summer she and C & T Youth Technology Academy founder Ruyan Teng delivered a joint panel presentation at the Generations United 17th International Conference in Washington, DC,  in which they described the ways in which their combined efforts have "engaged learners across the life span in live interaction, co-creating history together by experimenting with technology devices, creative expression, and nature." Praise for the program has come from numerous conference attendees, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penn State University and the National Center for Creative Aging.   


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