Teenagers in Waterbury, Connecticut, are participating in a project that will teach skills to help frail older adults in the western part of the state. The intergenerational program, "Take the Challenge," will help teenagers gain a responsible attitude as they learn skills to do important activities. Older adults benefit through the opportunity to build friendships with the younger people.
The young people will pay regular visits to 25 frail older adults in towns throughout western Connecticut after their training. Participants will be required to donate three hours a week for one year. They will provide companionship by doing a variety of activities including going for walks together, creating photo scrapbooks, helping with reading and letter writing, and simply enjoying informal conversations.
First, teenagers will participate in a job readiness training program. The next step in the training process will be the overview of the roles and responsibilities of the "Take the Challenge" volunteers. At this stage teenagers will gain an understanding of disabilities in older adults and will learn how to perform a variety of jobs to help them.