What is Link Age?
Link Age is an online resource produced by the Office for Senior Citizens of the Ministry of Social Development to promote intergenerational learning programmes through volunteering in schools and community organisations.
Many young people don't have older family members living nearby to talk to, so there has been an increase in volunteers choosing to work in local schools to:
- create positive attitudes to ageing across generations
- give older people a better understanding of young people today
- improve social, numeracy and literacy skills in young people.
These programmes are often referred to as intergenerational initiatives, intergenerational practice or even Link Age initiatives. Whatever we call them, the purpose is the same.
Intergenerational initiatives build on the positive resources that young and old have to offer while promoting understanding and respect between generations.
Here are some different ideas for ways to link generations.
- Older people can assist with classroom activities, sports events and fundraising.
- Young people can learn practical skills such as cooking, sewing or gardening. In return students can share their knowledge of technology like texting and computers.
- Older people can provide cultural knowledge in the form of arts, music and story-telling.
- Social interaction between generations such as Grandparents Days are also valuable.
Although older people are referred to in these guidelines, the information is applicable for initiatives involving volunteers of all ages.
Link Age is supported by the Ministry of Education.