In 2001 the Council on Social Work Education, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the National
Association of Area Agencies on Aging collaborated to initiate the Intergenerational Advocacy Project program. Social work
students in ten accredited social work programs had the opportunity to experience the following:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments as it relates to older
persons and programs for social insurance, the Older Americans Act and other relevant programs.
2. Learn practice content that encompasses knowledge and skills to work with groups, organizations, and communities.
3. Learn how to define, design, and implement strategies for effective practice with persons from diverse backgrounds,
through project activity with older adults.
4. Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of policies, regulations, and programs on direct practice with older adults.
5. Demonstrate the skills to educate the public, other agencies, and professional staffs on the needs and issues of a
growing aging population.
6. Demonstrate skills to develop service plans that include intergenerational approaches to the needs and strengths of
older persons, their families or significant others.
The University of North Alabama Social Work Program has been actively involved as an Intergenerational Advocacy Program site
since 2002 and has sponsored three community/town meetings for senior citizens in North Alabama. This project has provided
students in the BSW major excellent research and macro practice opportunities. The University of North Alabama's Social Work
Program selected a Human Behavior class, taught by Dr. Sellers, to work in conjunction with the local Department of Aging
Services with the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments and the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature to coordinate and
sponsor political advocacy activities with national, state and local politicians to discuss and present in a town meeting
format critical policy issues related to the promotion of a more positive and active aging environment in North Alabama's
The culmination of these activities coordinated by the HBSE students and a local steering committee (composed of representatives
from a select group of agencies serving the needs of senior citizens) takes place in an event that is structured as a forum
to assist senior citizens the opportunity to effectively advocate and communicate their needs as a population to politicians
at all levels of influence. Each spring the HBSE class sponsors the town meeting with topics of interest that were selected
from research studies results that the fall HBSE class completed as their contribution to this project. For spring 2004,
the purpose of the meeting held on campus in the Student Center will be to bring attention to several community issues of
importance to senior citizens of Northwest Alabama. These issues will include prescription drug legislation, homeland security
issues, disaster preparation, and current legal issues relevant to senior citizens and their families.
This project opportunity has truly been a positive and enlightening experience in enhancing the students' abilities in
community organization skills, researching community needs, application of generalist social work skills, interagency and
organizational collaboration, and last but not least, "hands on" opportunities with potential clients of the future.