Who We Help
We help Morehouse Parish low-income adults age 65 years or older and at-risk youth ages 14 to 18.
All Hands and Hearts is an intergenerational mentoring program that brings senior citizens and youth together for mutual encouragement, well-being, and insight.
A mentoring program at its core, guarantees people that they are not alone; that there is someone who cares about them and is willing to support them in their daily life challenges.
Intergenerational mentoring between older adults and youth, enable the young and old to learn from, enjoy, and assist each other.
Older adults pass on to younger people a legacy of life lessons and wisdom, and younger people fill a critical social void missing in older adults who do not receive regular visits from family and friends.
How we help
Bringing together the best of both generations!
All Hands and Hearts intergenerational mentoring program that meets the basic needs,
academic needs, and social needs of the community.
Youth and Senior Citizens participants complete a needs assessment when joining the program. Those needing basic supplies are provided with these items upon enrollment into the program.
Available assistance includes:
- Food and clothing
- First aid kits and hygiene items
- Assistance paying for critical needs (prescription drugs, utility bills, etc.)
- COVID-19 safety items (such as face masks, gloves, sanitizer, disinfectant, etc.)
Program participants are referred to our community partners for assistance that falls outside of our scope of services.
Enrolled youth receive guidance to prepare them for college or career upon high school graduation. This includes SAT & ACT
prep, assistance completing job and/or college applications, mock interviews and dress for success attire.
We use the Positive Youth Development (PYD) mentoring approach to ensure that the social needs for both youth and seniors are met. PYD is an evidenced-based mentoring framework that has eight key elements:
1. Physical and psychological safety: We provide an environment that is free of bullying, trauma, and crime and which respects people’s privacy and dignity.
2. Supportive relationships: We create opportunities for youth to engage with elderly mentors as a way to provide a positive relationship with a caring adult.
3. Opportunities to belong: We address the basic human need for mentors and mentees to affiliate and to be respected and have a sense of personal worth by matching youth and older adults based on common interest and culture.
4. Support for efficacy and mattering: Both youth and elderly are experiencing rapid changes in their bodies and mental capabilities; and, both are coming to understand new or changing personal identities. We use mentoring to help address these new personal identities by encouraging mutually respectful shared experiences.
5. Positive social norms: We use mentoring to help at-risk youth understand social norms, which are critical to a functioning society. It takes some people a lifetime to fully understand how to set and accomplish positive goals; how to respectfully get along in a diverse society without judgement of fellow man; and, how to generally be a self-sufficient good-standing citizen. This is one of the best aspects of intergenerational
mentoring: Older adults are encouraged to pass their life-experiences and wisdom onto youth in the program. Youth benefit because in many low-income communities’, their parents have not learned these lessons for themselves yet; therefore, they are unable to teach these lessons to their children.
6. Opportunities for skill-building: We create opportunities for older adults to work with youth to learn new competencies such as learning to play chess, how complete college and job applications, how to dress for different occasions, what it takes to get ahead, etc.
7. Appropriate structure: Our program is structured for age appropriate mentorship to happen virtually (during the COVID-19 pandemic), and eventually at our program onsite location. Our Volunteer Coordinators are always present during mentoring sessions.
8. Integration of family, school, and community efforts:
Our program creates a unified partnership aligning expectations and activities that span multiple settings. Youth may work on assignments at home, share in school, and gain an expanded perspective in the community during program excursions.
Pairing Mentor and Mentees
Our volunteer coordinators pair youth and seniors based on location and common interests. Coordinators schedule Zoom meetings where seniors and youth spend 30 minutes twice per-week virtually visiting each other. Volunteer Coordinators monitor virtual meetings for support and guidance as needed.
How to Enroll
For additional information about the program please contact us!
Why We Help
Our services promote dignity, health, and a positive future outlook for Southwest Georgia & Morehouse Parish in Louisiana older adults and youth.
Research on intergenerational mentoring has confirmed, that engaging the young and the elderly in social activities produce positive outcomes for both parties.
For Seniors, these regular encounters reduce social isolation and loneliness, mitigating the development of health-related conditions that can be life threatening such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, lowered immune functioning, anxiety, depression, early dementia, and even suicidal behaviors.
According to a recent report from Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, older adults who volunteer to mentor young people are able to delay or even reverse declining brain function.
As the “Mentor” in the relationship, seniors report finding purpose and meaning in life.
For youth, engaging as the “Mentee” has been associated with increased self-confidence, self-efficacy, positive outlook on life and increased graduation rates.
The impact on mentoring for older adults has been substantiated by research studies from AARP, National Institute of Health, Boston University of Aging Health, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins, and countless others who endorse coordinated services from community-based organizations as an opportunity for responding to senior loneliness and social isolation.
And, the impact of mentoring for youth has been substantiated by Mentoring.org, (the largest Mentoring organization in the U.S.), The American Journal for Community Psychology, Harvard University, Boston University, The National Institute of Heath, among other notable research organizations that promote mentoring as a positive antidote for at-risk behaviors in youth.