Northland Foundation KIDS PLUS

Northland Foundation

AGE to age: bringing the generations together

AGE to age logoAGE to ageAGE to age: bringing the generations together is the newest member of the KIDS PLUS family. Launched in fall 2008, this exciting initiative enables elders, adults, and youth to explore how their generations are both alike and different. The program is designed to strengthen relationships among all ages and offer older adults and young people with opportunities and resources to work together to benefit their communities. Its success has exceeded every expectation, including spurring over 7,500 hours of volunteer service each year among adults ages 55 and older!

Through a guided planning process, older and younger community members identify local needs and devising their own grassroots solutions. Representatives from all AGE to age sites meet regularly to share ideas. Each site forms and implements its own strategic action plan that joins the generations in local projects to improve thealth and wellbeing across the generations, with support from the Northland Foundation and its funding partners.

AGE to age sites are now established and are making positive change in 13 rural communities and Reservations: Bois Forte Reservation, Chisholm, Cloquet, Floodwood, Fond du Lac Reservation, Grand Portage Reservation, Itasca Area, McGregor, Moose Lake, Proctor, Aitkin, International Falls, and Two Harbors.

Expansion Projects

The energy generated by AGE to age has created infrastructure in rural communities and Reservations that did not previously exist. New ideas and projects "hit the ground running" thanks to the strengthened community connections and established network of volunteers eager to become involved. Among these efforts are:

  • AGE to age Reading Pals: Over the past two school years, the Reading Pals project has been piloted in the AGE to age sites of Proctor, McGregor, and Moose Lake where nearly 40 older adults regularly read with more than 200 children, age three to grade three, over each school year.
  • AGE to age Connect for Health:  Through a multi-year funding partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, all 13 AGE to age sites are undertaking special projects that promote health and relationship-building. Local efforts include community gardens, healthy cooking classes, active living classes, health fairs, walking/running clubs, community gathering, cultural enrichment, and more.
  • AGE to age College Intern Program:  Thanks to the 3-year Rural Aging Initiative launched in 2014, the Northland Foundation is expanding the AGE to age College Intern Program first piloted in 2012. During the summers of 2014-2016, undergraduate students will engage in a community-based work experience in AGE to age sites. This initiative will help college interns ehannce their leadership skills, increase their knowledge of intergenerational community-building, and infuse fresh ideas in participating sites.

Learn More

Outcomes brochure coverAGE to age is making a positive difference in the lives of children, youth and older adults while enhancing the vitality of rural communities and Indian Reservations. Learn more through a number of resources which share how communities have embraced AGE to age.

Funding Partners

We gratefully acknowledge the partner organizations whose support has contributed to the success of AGE to age. They are Community Experience Partnership – an initiative for U.S. community foundations from The Atlantic Philanthropies; Bush Foundation; Otto Bremer Foundation; Blandin Foundation; The Sheltering Arms Foundation; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation; Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation; and Communities for All Ages.

Honors and Distinctions

Generations United Program of Distinction logoAge to age has earned national accolades for successfully bringing older adults together with youth in rural small towns and reservations. It is the community members themselves who deserve recognition for embracing the opportunity to connect with other generations and enhance their communities.

  • Selected as a 2012 finalist, one of just seven nationwide, for the Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence
  • Designated in 2012 and re-designated in 2015 as a Program of Distinction by Generations United, a national membership organization focused on improving the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies
  • Awarded the 2011 Intergenerational Innovations Award from Generations United, in recognition of AGE to age’s contributions to the intergenerational field