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10 Weeks Between Generations, March 13, 2007
 
In 2000, The Hanover Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse created and piloted the first 10 Weeks Between Generations program. Their idea was to connect a student and town elder for conversation by phone during the Winter, when some senior citizens might be isolated more because of the weather. The major premise behind the idea for the program was that connectedness is a protective factor preventing depression, a common condition for elderly people as well as teenagers. Volunteers for the program came from the Hanover Council on Aging, Hanover High School, Saint Mary's CCD classes and the Congregational Church Youth Group. Student Volunteers were trained by the COA on how to converse by phone with an elderly person and were offered a set of interview questions to aid them in their conversations. The calling then begins and continues for ten weeks.

Teens find a friend in someone who they discover they have a lot in common with, someone who has a lifetime of experiences and history to share. Seniors are refreshed to meet a teen who is engaged and responsible; not at all like the reputation that teenagers have among some of the elderly. Student elder matches meet each other for the first time at a luncheon after the ten weeks of conversations are over. At that time students present their elder fiend with a story about their life gleaned from their conversations over the telephone. Stories and snippets are read at the luncheon. It is a real community event!

Photos: Stephen T. Ryerson

 
 
 
Program Participants
  • Paul Hayes, Hanover Chief of Police; President HAPSA
  • Mary Stagno, Vice President HAPSA
  • Janice Comeau, Hanover High School; Program Coordinator
  • Joyce Wilson, Hanover COA Outreach Coordinator
  • Christine Fay, Hanover High School; Student Coordinator
  • Lt. Walter Sweeney, Hanover Police; Master of Ceremonies

This years luncheon took place at the Hanover Council on Aging.