Gen2Gen Toolbox

Welcome to the Gen2Gen Toolbox

Today’s aging population, the largest senior cohort the world has known, offers a potent synergy for society, and for youth specifically. The very attributes that older people possess – the often-overlooked gains that come with aging –are ideally attuned to key needs of today’s younger generation. Simply stated, older people’s qualities and their affinity for purpose and engagement position them to make critical contributions to the lives of youth who need help the most. At the same time, such engagement fulfills older people’s desire for a sense of meaning and purpose, which in turn promotes well-being. Mutually meaningful relationships develop for both old and young.
— from Hidden in Plain Sight: How Intergenerational Relationships Can Transform our Future, Stanford Center on Longevity 2016

Many youth-serving organizations may agree with the statement above, but at the same time lack the tools to effectively engage older adults within their organizations. The Generation to Generation (Gen2Gen) Toolbox is a set of practical resources that are designed for organizations interested in tapping a growing source of talent — people in midlife and beyond with skills, experience, and drive to help children and youth thrive.

The toolbox is currently a work in progress. We hope that you will use the Gen2Gen Toolbox Facebook group to share your experiences with the tools so we can improve them. We also hope you will let us know what types of additional resources would be most valuable to you so we can add them to the Toolbox.

How does the Toolbox work?

Click on the the Gen2Gen Toolbox Facebook group to request to join the group. We will be adding new tools to the toolbox to regularly. Look out for our posts about new tools we are adding. (Our goal is at least one per week through June.) In the short term, this invite-only Facebook group will be the place to provide feedback and discuss the tools with other practitioners and national experts. The Gen2Gen team is currently developing new virtual opportunities for increasing collaboration and peer learning. In the meantime, please use the Facebook group to provide feedback and comments on the tools, as well as suggestions for new tools you would like to see in the toolbox.

How can age diversity among volunteers and paid staff benefit your organization?

Particularly for direct-service roles, youth-serving organizations may gravitate toward younger volunteers and staff or may not be intentional about recruiting people 50+. Is either of these true for you? If yes, there may be many reasons — including the demonstrated power of “near peer” relationships and the perception among some staff that older generations may not have the energy or the perspective needed for specific roles. Nevertheless, if you’re not reaching out to people 50+, you’re missing some important opportunities.

In 2015, people 50+ made up more than one-third of the US population; that’s about 111 million people, according to the US Census. According to Encore.org research, more than 4.5 million are already working for social impact, and many more want to join them. Millions of people 50 to 70 years old are eager to share their skills, passions and expertise in encore careers that focus on children and youth.

About a quarter of older adults volunteer, says the latest Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. And volunteers are almost twice as likely as non-volunteers to donate to charity, so engaging more people in your cause is also good for your financial bottom line.

For these reasons and more, reaching out to older adults to fill volunteer and paid roles is a smart strategy for youth-serving organizations.

Do you have questions about the Toolbox?

Post a comment in the Facebook Group. Thank you!