The Leighton Center for Senior Health is concerned with addressing the generation gap. Their intergenerational programming bridges the age gap between seniors and children. They hope each can better understand and appreciate each other for what they have to offer.
Kids-At-Heart is the umbrella name of the Leighton Center’s programs that are directed to seniors and young adults. There are four components to Kids-At-Heart: Baby Rockers, LaPetite Kids, NO BUTTS ABOUT IT, and School Angels.
Baby Rockers is a program that allows seniors to spend time with infants and toddlers. The children range from six weeks to 12 months of age and participate in daycare programs at the LaPetite Daycare Academy.
LaPetite Kids allows the children from the daycare academy in the four-year-old class to visit the Leighton Senior Center monthly. The visits take place during the entire year prior to the children starting Kindergarten. They have monthly projects where the children and their “foster grandparents” have a learning activity or project that ranges from making pies to visiting the hospital.
NO BUTTS ABOUT IT is a program aimed at educating children on the facts about smoking. Senior teams present a 30-minute program to Kindergarten through third grade students. It proves how a few basic principles and an entertaining presentation can make a lasting impression on children. By the end of 2000, it will have reached about 2,800 students. Each of those children will have been educated about the effects of smoking, and it is designed to prevent smoking among youths before they are ever tempted to begin.
School Angels is the final component of Kids-At-Heart. This programs allows seniors to assist elementary school teachers with projects during the school day and in after school programs. The senior angels are available and able to undertake and assist in any way possible. This program was developed and implemented this year and consideration is being given to expanding it to assist disabled students during test taking situations.
Kids-At-Heart appreciates and utilizes the wisdom of seniors while also exposing younger children to their knowledge and love. The Leighton Center sees the need to bring the two age groups together to nurture and educate each other.