Friday, November 30, 2012

How to live a happier, healthier lifestyle

People are living longer and longer these days. Studies have shown that over the past 100 years, our life expectancy has increased by 30 years!  So what do we do with all this time?  What should we do to say in shape and healthy?  Why, volunteer any way you can! Volunteering has been proven to be an affect way to maintain an active lifestyle and continue social engagements among other benefits. 

Linda Fried, a professor of public health at Columbia University Medical Center, says increased longevity raises the need to find engaging activities in our later years. She says there are overwhelming benefits for older adults who decide to volunteer their time for any good cause. 
Two benefits of volunteering are that people stay physically active as well as socially active. 

Linda says, "The social networks of people tend to decline as they age; family and friends move away or die. Volunteering can replace these ties and their well-being and happiness benefits.
"The other thing that is really important to people, particularly as they get older, is that they feel they've made a difference being on the planet," Fried says. "That's a deeply personal sense of meaning, particularly as people take stock of their lives as they get older."

I think we all like to know we've made a difference on this planet no matter what our age.  But the more people embrace volunteering in their later years, the happier and healthier they'll be. 

Which type of volunteer best describes you?

1. Communitarians - Doing Good Makes Sense 
2. Devouts - Doing Good is God's Will
3. Investor - Doing Good is Good Business
4. Socialite - Giving is Fun
5. Repayers - Doing Good in return
6. Altruist - Doing Good Feels Right
7. Dynasts - Doing Good is a Family Tradition

To read more about why helping others is a secret of happiness, check out this link!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Different Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the starting point of the holiday season in America. It is known for feasting with family members –indulging in roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc. However, many families have special traditions that they partake in each year.

One word can describe an American Thanksgiving tradition: football. Most families like to watch a game on TV or even organize their own family ‘turkey bowl’! Some people go to the Thanksgiving parade in their hometown/city each year as a Thanksgiving tradition, while others donate time and service by volunteering at places such as an orphanage, old age home, soup kitchen, shelters, etc. There are families in which their traditions include the children cooking Thanksgiving dinner with a parent/grandparent or everyone sharing what they’re thankful for at the dinner table.

S.A.G.E. has a Thanksgiving tradition of its own in the form of an annual intergenerational luncheon. Beryl Katz, Executive Director of S.A.G.E., elaborates on this tradition. “We started the tradition in 1999, our first year assisting in Council Rock schools. Students really enjoy themselves and put on a good show for the seniors. One Thanksgiving, students were dressed in Wizard of Oz costumes and another year the football team and cheerleaders were servers. It is such a wonderful opportunity for folks to enjoy an afternoon of music and share a meal with other members of the community. We are especially grateful to Chartwells who have allowed us to continue this wonderful experience without any monetary outlay from the school district.”

This year’s luncheon took place at Richboro Middle School on Wednesday November 14th. The fun afternoon involved the talented and caring students of the Council Rock school district showcasing their musical talents while showing appreciation for S.A.G.E. volunteers and their contributions to education. Kathi Sherzer, Associate Director of S.A.G.E., was pleased with this year’s amazing feedback at Council Rock, as the district truly knows how to “give thanks to the community.” She adds, “It was wonderful seeing 60 members of the CR community come together, enjoy musical entertainment, [and] share a meal and tons of conversation. Folks loved the entertainment and greatly appreciated the efforts of the football team who did all the serving.”

Originally the luncheon was a way to promote S.A.G.E. within the community and recruit warm volunteers. Today, it has become another intergenerational learning experience that both students and seniors look forward to each year and that’s what S.A.G.E. is all about. What Thanksgiving traditions do you and your families have?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Veterans share experiences in the classroom

In honor of the brave service men and women that fight to keep the United States safe, November has been dubbed Military Family Appreciation Month.  During this month, lots of veterans devote their time to reminding our youth about the freedom and independence our nation stands for every day.  This special gift is one that sometimes is taken for granted.   

Each year, in Newark, OH, U.S. Navy veteran, Bill Rissler visits schools to share his military experiences.  Rissler, 64 years of age, served as a gunner’s mate on an ammunition supply ship during the Vietnam War.  He was also responsible for transferring powder casings and explosives to other vessels. In all, he spent four years in the navy, six months in-country and three years off the coast.

This year he visited Legend Elementary School where his granddaughter attends 5th grade.  The children he spoke with have a better understanding of what it means to proudly serve our country and the importance of independence.  There is no better way for children to learn about these precious values than to have a descriptive firsthand account. In addition to speaking, Rissler also helps coordinate annual veterans’ visits for the holiday. On numerous occasions other veterans have come to share their stories and join in school assemblies complete with music, speeches and special ceremonies.

Children are not the only generation learning in the classroom.  Older veterans as well enjoy interacting with young citizens who will become the future leaders of our country. So take time to remember what you have and keep a positive outlook on the lifestyle you enjoy today.  Never knowing what tomorrow brings, let's be thankful for the brave men and women that protect our freedom every day. 

To read the full article, click here:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Benefits of Intergenerational Programs (YOUTH)

Intergenerational programs, such as the programs offered by SAGE, offer both younger and older generations opportunities to interact with one another through ongoing, planned activities that are designed to achieve specific goals.  Young and old persons are important assets in these programs because their various talents and resources benefit one another as well as the community.  Benefits for youth and children involved in these programs include improvement of academic skills and performance, enhancement of social skills, and promotion of positive attitude/behavior (especially towards those of different generations).

Intergenerational programs have been shown to positively contribute to the development of children’s academic skills.  For example, students who participate in a ‘Book Buddies’ program, in which they practice reading and phonics with a senior citizen buddy, seem to show improvement in reading skills such as enhanced knowledge of alphabet letters with their correct sounds within spelling and the ability to identify words in isolation.  These benefits in reading are only the beginning!  Intergenerational programs have been proven to produce better student attendance as well as decreased discipline referrals.  These programs also influence the youth emotionally.  They affect the youth’s attitudes towards school, elders, and their own future because, through these programs, students have an increased awareness of aging issues of older adults.  Their perception of older adults has become more active, as they are more likely to interact with them outside of the classroom.  Through the adults in these programs, the younger generation gets the chance to learned varied skills such as handicrafts, performing arts skills, horticultural skills, traditional games, cultural history, etc.  These varied skills often correlate to the enhancement of  students’ self-esteem when they realize they can be proud of many talents, not limiting to academic scores.  Finally, intergenerational programs displayed an improvement of communication skills in students, including cooperation, communication, tolerance, concern, and respect for the limitations of others. 

“Wherever there are beginners and experts, old and young, there is some kind of learning going on, some kind of teaching.  We are all pupils and we are all teachers.” – Gilbert Highet