Connections Across Generations group
Madeleine Rose (left) and her SSU students from the Connections Program brought seniors from Friends House in Santa Rosa to the campus recently. They all work together to confront the common stereotypes of aging.

Connections Across Generations Celebrates Ninth

Year of Breaking the Stereotypes of Aging

The Connections Across Generations program celebrated its ninth year of bringing SSU students and senior citizens together recently. Students enrolled in Group Work with Older Adults (a Sociology service-learning course developed by Madeleine Rose) lead lively group discussions with seniors. In these candid conversations, students confront and discard stereotypes about aging and find unexpected mentors and friends in the older adult population.

The weekly groups take place at four community sites. Toward the end of the semester, each group visits SSU and their student leaders proudly show off the University. This year, the politically savvy group from Friends House requested a presentation about Project Censored from its Director, Peter Phillips. Guests from the Rohnert Park Senior Center lingered in the Art Gallery to admire student artists' works. Charles Street Village participants were treated to Jack Ritchie's witty and illuminating demonstration of the Library's Automated Retrieval System.

Residents from Sunrise at the Chanate were welcomed by music faculty and students to a noon concert, with particular acknowledgement of one of the guests, Gene Shepard, who founded and directed the Santa Rosa Youth Symphony. These visits were initiated to thank the seniors for their 12-week commitment to the students, but they have taken on an additional significance, establishing a strong, ongoing connection to the University.

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