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Generational Handoff, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Paul Nicholson’s photostream

Pittsburgh has, on average, an older population than many cities of similar size and, as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, tens of thousands of people will be leaving the workforce or looking for job opportunities in new fields. For 25 years, the University of Pittsburgh ran an innovative intergenerational teaching and learning program called Generations Together. The program was designed to help retiring seniors or seniors transitioning into new fields find opportunities, both paid and volunteer, to connect with younger generations and impart their skills, wisdom, and interests. This occurred both inside and outside of schools. Generations Together was nationally recognized as one of the most successful and innovative programs to bring people of all generations together to learn and share. And it wasn’t just kids that benefited. The interplay and interaction was an enriching experience for the seniors who participated as well. As Mayor, I will work with the University of Pittsburgh and other stakeholders to bring back Generations Together and create new opportunities for intergenerational teaching and learning.

1. Generations Together

Pittsburgh city government invests resources every year into programs and activities for senior citizens, but it is often a challenge to provide the level of service we want to. Generations Together offers an opportunity to create new programs that enrich the lives of both youth and seniors throughout our city and relieves some of the pressure on parents, schools, and teachers.

There are a variety of proven and tested programs that I will work to bring back or create anew through Generations Together. One example is the creation of in-school activities such as bringing older artists into classrooms to lead arts instruction programs in schools that have been forced to cut their visual and performing arts departments due to pressure from state and federal budget cuts.

But these programs can go beyond the walls of school buildings as well. We have senior centers throughout the City of Pittsburgh that provide some activities during the day but typically close in the early afternoon. We can keep these senior centers open longer and set up afterschool programs, inviting kids to come in for group reading, one-on-one tutoring, and recreational activities like game time or dancing lessons.

Our seniors have so much to offer to our younger generations and I want to help bring them together to share in wholesome activities that will improve all of their lives.