Generations United on the West Coast

Generations United
Feb 7, 2018 · 4 min read

At the Summit of Leaders in San Jose, CA, Donna Butts delivered the keynote address, highlighting the value of intergenerational projects and policies.

Shout out to our friend, Corita Brown (director of Leadership and Learning for’s #Gen2Gen campaign) who led an interactive session following Donna’s presentation.

Donna’s speech in San Jose was a highlight from last week’s West Coast trip that took her from Los Angeles to San Jose, then to Portland, Oregon.

The trip — which included Donna delivering two keynote addresses and visiting intergenerational shared sites — kicked off in LA with her visiting OneGeneration and the Los Angeles LGBT Center with Eisner Foundation’s Director of Programs Cathy Choi and Dr. Shannon Jarrott, professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University.

Donna (right) with Dr. Shannon Jarrott.

Founded in 1978, ONEgeneration — a Generations United Program of Distinction — began as a modest storefront senior center initiated, operated, and directed by visionary volunteers. Their mission shifted in 1994, when they added a child care program. Their commitment to intergenerational services has become their guiding value.

Since 1969, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Lost Angeles and beyond. In 2016, they broke ground on a new campus that will house both elderly and young adult LGBT residents.

Leading up to Donna’s speech at the Seniors’ Agenda Network Summit, she delivered a keynote at the Summit of Leaders in San Jose, where she spoke on the potential unleashed when children, youth and older adults connect through intergenerational programs.

Donna also got a chance to catch up with Generations United’s former Senior Fellow Dr. Marsha Adler, who’s a member of the Core Group coordinating Age-Friendly Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose.

In her keynote at the Seniors’ Agenda Network Summit, Donna addressed over 200 professionals, aging advocates, and elected officials.

The biannual event is an opportunity for colleagues in the aging field to actively engage in meaningful discussions on how to strengthen communities for older adults. Places like these embrace intergenerational solutions to serve, empower and engage residents of all ages.

(Download our toolkit to start creating an age-advantaged community.)

Donna’s keynote highlighted the benefits of intergenerational projects and policies.

The Seniors’ Agenda is a collective impact project led by the County of Santa Clara Department of Aging and Adult Services. Their goal is to be the first U.S. county to have all cities and the county be a part of the global network of Age-friendly Cities.

Before leaving San Jose, Donna visited the Alzheimer’s Activity Center. Last month, older adults and the children of their child care center enjoyed intergenerational T’Ai Chi.

The T’ai Chi Health Association provided exercise and entertainment with demonstrations and lessons of T’ai Chi.

Donna’s trip culminated in Portland, Oregon, where she visited Bridge Meadows’ Beaverton campus. She was joined by Derenda Schubert (executive director of Bridge Meadows), Kristin Bodiford (Generations United’s United Nations Rep) and Todd Engle (executive director of Friendsview Retirement Community).

Todd Engel, Donna, Dr. Derenda Schubert, and Dr. Kristin Bodiford at Bridge Meadows’ Beaverton campus.

Bridge Meadows — a Generations United Program of Distinction — develops and sustains intergenerational neighborhoods for adoptive families of youth formerly in foster care that promote permanency, community and caring relationships while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults.

“There’s always a purpose in life. When the courts asked if these girls could come live with me, I knew they were my purpose.” — Reba, Bridge Meadows Adoptive Parent | Read Reba’s story.

Donna also visited the Quaker faith-based Friendsview Retirement Community, which was intentionally located across the street from George Fox University. Seniors could engage in the campus, and students can be a part of the retirement community life.

All of us at Generations United are grateful for all who shared the heart and soul of their intergenerational work!

Generations United

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National nonprofit that improves children, youth and older adults' lives through intergenerational programs and policies. Why? Because we're stronger together.

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