The intergenerational program at Santropol Roulant harnesses the endless flow of ideas and energy presented by our members of all ages, and funnels them into activities that bring us all together. Our formula is a simple one: we get together around food, and talk about what excites us, and the dreams we have for our communities.
In the process we exchange ideas and conserve social memory. We break social isolation and increase social inclusion. We question stereotypes of the elderly, as well as perceptions of youth as individuals who are uninvolved and uninterested in their communities.
Since the Roulant started, the input generated by the conversations between clients and volunteers has grown the organization’s aims and reach in the community. While intergenerationalism is not strictly speaking a program, it is a guiding force of the organization that runs through all of our activities.
- People of different ages and nationalities meet around the meal delivery service.
- Trust is established over time, and friendships form.
- We come together to celebrate during our intergenerational activities, suppers, brunches, and parties.
- Conversations deepen and ideas surface.
- These ideas shape the intergenerational projects that we offer to our entire membership.
The magic behind this process is that it is continually looping at different rhythms, and allows for people to get as involved as they want or can. Some people are happy to come to the brunches and nothing more, while other will get involved throughout the entire year, creating projects and activities of their own.