Senior Adults for Greater Education was founded in 1999 by Beryl Katz, a Bucks County resident, parent, volunteer and former high school English teacher.
She saw an opportunity to unite generations. Parents wanted smaller class sizes, updated school buildings, and enhanced, expanded curriculum. Older residents, who had already educated their children and were struggling with ever increasing school taxes, didn't feel any connection to the schools.
Beryl reasoned if older residents could get an insider's view of the schools and participate by sharing their knowledge, expertise, time and talent, they would understand the system and its financial limitations and they would see the need. These individuals would benefit from continued engagement in the life of the community – of which schools are often the heart. Students would benefit by learning from and interacting with older people. The educational staff would benefit by having extra help.
Beryl took her idea to the President of the Council Rock School Board. Together they approached the Superintendent and Senior Adults for Greater Education was born.
Senior Adults for Greater Education has been a 501© (3) since 2003. Previously under the umbrella of its founding district, the desire to offer this valuable program to other districts created the need to incorporate as a non-profit. Ms. Katz has been the volunteer Executive Director since 1999.
Senior Adults for Greater Education has been in operation for seven years in Council Rock. In 2006 pilot programs were begun in 6 schools in the Neshaminy School District, and at one elementary school in the Bensalem School District. These programs were extremely successful and the Bensalem program in expanding in 2007.
Senior Adults for greater Education believes that intergenerational programs help seniors and students to relate to one another, dispelling existing stereotypes. Many seniors only see the negative side of students and do not have the opportunity to interact with students in their community. Therefore, large scale intergenerational programs are offered such as a spelling bee, choir, Thanksgiving feast, oral history project, and bingo games.
Senior Adults for Greater Education offers episodic volunteering events such as being interviewed by students and speaking on various topics such as first hand experiences with anorexia, the experience of growing up in Cuba and more. Our volunteers lead Career Fairs at the Middle School and participated as judges at Science Fairs.
For weekly volunteers there are many opportunities such as: helping a child read, reviewing math facts, editing writing assignments, assisting students who are below grade level to achieve proficiency on state mandated tests and helping English as Second Language students.
Senior Adults for Greater Education fosters lifelong learning and helps to educate its members. Teachers volunteer to instruct computer classes after school to members who want to learn how to use the computer. Students volunteer to mentor the senior "students".
The Senior Adults for Greater Education model is strong as it was designed with a carefully integrated dual focus on youth and older adults, brining generations together in the pursuit of educational excellence