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Mission Statement

Building community through intergenerational mentoring: a team of active senior volunteers, wishing to "give back," practice Brain Gym, eye exercises and other integrative activities with children or frail elders to improve each other's cognitive skills, balance, coordination, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.

Description

New program: so many of the children today lack sensory-motor integration due to poor diet, too much TV, too many video games, and not enough movement. We use Brain Gym with its emphasis on integrative has won awards as a cutting edge technology in education Besides being beneficial to children, it is clear that movement is important in keeping seniors healthy as they age. Our program connects these 2 groups in heartfelt relationships. They practice the movements together to improve each other's cognitve skills, balance, coordination, and self-esteem, and more. Instead of working with children,some senior volunteers choose to work with frail elders, using the same techniques and activities that we use with the children. The children, active senior volunteers and frail elders all benefit through the integrative movements and the heartfelt relationships.

We have created a "team." The volunteers go into the site as a 10-15 at one time, giving them confidence and strength in numbers. The volunteers complete an 8-12 hour training where, in addition to learning the integrative movements, they explore together aging issues and bond very deeply. They experience several innovative processes to improve their listening skills, and engage in a unique writing process called "spiral" writing, where the volunteers uncover their "voice." The training is very spontaneous,"in the moment", preparing the volunteers for similar conditions at the sites. We have impromptu trainings throughout the year where volunteers present their "gifts," sharing their skills and talents with the other volunteers, so that when the volunteer shares his/her skill at the site, the other volunteers are prepared to support the one sharing.

In addition, we have a Support Group, which meets immediatley following each site session, where new techniques are taught based on the children or frail elders at the site. The Site Coordinator is present to oversee the site, teach and facilitate the Support Group. In the Support Group, volunteers share and compare their experiences. Ultimately, the volunteers are the teachers of each other in the Support Group, as they open up, trust each other, and trust sharing their skills.

Website

http://www.GivingBackMentoring.org

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