Central Virginia Recognized for Intergenerational Connections

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Central Virginia is being honored by MetLife Foundation and Generations United as one of the top five Best Intergenerational Communities in the country for connecting kids with seniors.

The kids at Shining Star Pre-School spend time reading, gardening, and chatting with their older buddies at the Jefferson Area Board for Aging's (JABA) Adult Care Centers in Charlottesville and Louisa.

"A lot of the elders have really come out and been more excited about things, because now they have an opportunity to teach some of the skills they've learned in their lifetime," said Shining Star Pre-School Director Jean Bourbeau.

That's just one of the programs helping earn the Thomas Jefferson Planning District communities the recognition from insurance company MetLife and its nonprofit partner, Generations United. This is the first time the award has been given out.

JABA Executive Director Gordon Walker said, "There's a commitment to break down silos between generations and to create opportunities to bring generations together."

Walker credits regional programs - like 75 retirees who tutor students in schools and UVA nursing students who train as geriatric caregivers - for connecting generations.

"Our approach to this is - how do we give a younger generation a good, healthy head start on aging,  recognizing aging is a lifelong process," Walker said.

A team from JABA will accept the award in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Lamoni, IA, Oberlin, OH, Georgetown, TX, and San Diego County, CA will also receive the award.