In the Fall of 2020, Amherst Neighbors collaborated on a pilot project that connected older residents of Amherst and Pelham with students from IMPACT and The Boltwood Project. Twenty-four students participated by interviewing an older adult via video and phone about their life and presented their partner with an ensuing story in the form of an essay or Power Point presentation.
Amherst Neighbors' members and students alike enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other. One older adult reported one of the perks to living in Amherst and Pelham is being able to do something like this with UMass. The students appreciated their glimpse into the lives of older adults and the chance to gain a perspective about the past. A few of the pairs have opted to continue their talks during the spring semester, while others will repeat the process with new partners.
Comments from one of the student participants best illustrate the value and power of listening and sharing, and of thereby creating friendships across what can sometimes seems like a gulf between the generations: Amherst Neighbors is unique for many reasons, but I most admire the fact that we are bridging the gap between the younger and older generations, and learning that despite our generational differences, we all hold many of the same values and beliefs. (Erielle, IMPACT student leader)
Many of the participants agreed to share their final project with Amherst Neighbors. We hope you will enjoy reading about some of your neighbors.
Click here for the Fall 2020 Stories
(Thank you to Professors Ellen Correa and Katja Hahn d’Errico for sharing these words.)