Generations United is the national organization devoted to improving the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all. For over three decades, Generations United has catalyzed cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy, and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if age diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged. We work to expand intergenerational initiatives and through our National Center on Grandfamilies support families headed by grandparents, other relatives, and close family friends.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced all ages to self-isolate, the United States was facing a loneliness epidemic affecting both older and younger generations. The negative impacts of social isolation and loneliness are well documented, and research suggests that remaining socially engaged can improve these outcomes. A 2018 national poll conducted for Generations United and the Eisner Foundation found ninety-two percent of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce loneliness across all ages.
Intergenerational programs help break down barriers between the generations, promote social engagement, and improve health outcomes. Older volunteers possess a lifetime of experience, skills, and knowledge. Their passion and wisdom can improve the academic, health, and social conditions of a child, teenager, or young adult through mentoring, tutoring, and friendship. Children, youth, and young adults also want more meaningful relationships with adults in their communities through civic engagement and leadership positions. And overall, intergenerational programs lead to positive outcomes among younger and older people, teachers and administrators, workplaces, community spaces, families, and neighborhoods.
Generations United works to combat social isolation and loneliness by raising the visibility of high-quality intergenerational programs and activities connecting younger and older people and supporting grandparents and other relatives raising children. We provide training and technical assistance; host a biennial global intergenerational conference and educational webinars; support a professional learning network for the intergenerational field; develop resources and toolkits on program development; maintain a directory of intergenerational program examples; and elevate best practices through our Programs of Distinction designation.