|Nancy Hooyman (left) and Project Directors
Innovations in Service Learning
Calvin College, which has a strong community mission, has instituted service-learning requirements across BSW foundation courses
in the sophomore, junior, and senior years. Selection of their service-learning sites is guided by the SAGE-SW competencies
and opportunities to link with new agencies. These sites provide opportunities to learn organizational, public presentation,
and evaluation research skills; interact with older adults; complete oral history projects; and create training materials
for caregiver groups related to caregiving at a distance and death and dying. Students are more readily recruited to service-learning
projects with elders in their senior year than in their first courses, where they tend to be attracted to projects with children
(a common pattern in social work programs!). Being housed within an institution with an overall commitment to service learning
facilitates the time-consuming task of screening, matching, and monitoring geriatric opportunities.
Academic Partnership Innovations
A Legal Clinic sponsored by the Paralegal Department (and chaired by an attorney) at the College of Mount St. Joseph is engaging
social work and paralegal students in three projects: assisting with intake at legal clinics in senior centers, teaching classes
to older adults in Life Learn programs (e.g., computer skills), and, through a Speaker's Bureau, hosting older adults as speakers
in social work and paralegal classes.
Innovations in Cross Cutting Themes
(Connecting Diverse Constituencies)
Some students, practitioners, and faculty more readily connect personally and professionally with an intergenerational approach
than with a gerontology-only perspective. This seems to be one way to challenge students and faculty to think about aging
in new ways across the life span. It also confronts students' resistance to "working with those people." Once
they are "hooked" on intergenerational or multigenerational approaches, their openness to aging issues increases.
Not surprisingly, a number of GeroRich Projects have developed a cross-generational framework.
At George Mason University, field instructors shared their perspectives in a focus group format on intergenerational practice
needs and ways to prepare students for such practice. A one-day workshop on intergenerational issues in social work was held
for field instructors, faculty, and students. Speakers from Generations United, the Child Welfare League of America, Fairfax
County Department of Family Services, and the National Association for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare discussed
Grandparent Caregivers and other issues related to intergenerational policy and practice.
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