Celebrating Intergenerational Day with the InterGenNS Project

June 11, 2021

By Rachelle Patille (MA Student)

The passion and dedication of the North Shore community have generated an exciting project to develop a safe and welcoming space to bring generations together. The North Shore Community Resource (NSCR) Society tirelessly advocates and creates opportunities for intergenerational connections to form and thrive.

I am honoured to be a part of InterGenNS Project working alongside the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Research Team in the Department of Gerontology (Team members: Dr. Habib Chaudhury and Rachelle Patille) and various Community Agencies, including (NSCR) Society to bring awareness to the intergenerational initiatives that are offered in the North Shore. This project was initiated by inspiring community members in the North Shore who were extremely passionate about intergenerational involvements and programs.

Various community organizations came together and formed the InterGenNS Steering Committee in hopes to actively increase the awareness and better understand the current state of intergenerational programs in the North Shore. This InterGenNS Project is a community engaged research project in which the SFU Research Team worked very closely with North Shore community members and organizations throughout every stage of the project. This provided a unique opportunity for the cocreation of knowledge and resources to take place between academia and the North Shore community! The deliverables of the project act as helpful tools and resources for organizations in the North Shore community to initiate partnerships in planning, developing, and offering intergenerational initiatives. This project created an opportunity for organizations in the North Shore community to better understand the facilitators and barriers of current and future intergenerational initiatives and maybe even be inspired to create an intergenerational initiative in the process! The InterGenNS Project facilitated community connectivity and collaborations as we worked to effectively support local organizations, partners, and community members in intergenerational engagement opportunities.

We are happy to announce that this project is gaining more traction than anticipated. We are currently working on Phase 2 of the project which aims to expand and diversify our findings."We want to bring light to the importance and value that intergenerational connections and interactions have on older adults, children, youth, adults, and the society as a whole. In fact, intergenerational initiatives act merely as the starting point. There is a spillover that occurs from an intergeneration program or initiative that can spread into the community and increases community connectivity and support among generations. It is important to recognize the essential nature of intergenerational initiatives given the current COVID-19 pandemic. Intergenerational initiatives have the potential to actively contribute to reducing social isolation and loneliness, while enhancing social capital, community capacity, cultural connectedness, social awareness, and social cohesion among various populations in the community.

Bringing together generations may be exactly what we need as a society to offset the current struggles and difficulties that most vulnerable populations are experiencing today more than ever before. In that spirit, on Tuesday June 1st, reach out to a friend, neighbour, or family member that is older or younger than you and have a conversation! Be creative! Such a small, simple act of kindness can go a long way and bring generations together like never before!