The New York Academy of Medicine recently awarded $75,000 to Alliance for Strong Families and Communities member United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) of New York, in partnership with Alliance member United Community Centers (UCC) and St. Nicks Alliance (working together as one grantee). This grant, from the Fund for an Age-Friendly New York City, is designed to stimulate organizations, institutions, and neighborhood groups to identify and catalyze improvements that enable older people to be fully integrated in the life of their communities and are thus able to access, enjoy, and contribute to city life.
Building on their experience mobilizing older people to drive positive change in neighborhoods, UNH, UCC, and St. Nicks Alliance will invest the funds in programs that bring together older and younger residents to address a range of challenges in Williamsburg and East New York. These multi-generational groups will work to make their communities more livable, increase access to healthy foods, and pair at-risk teens with older adult mentors who will help them realize their dreams.
Urban Farming in East New York
In Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, UNH is working with UCC to increase the impact and reach of an urban farm that older adults started at a public housing development. All the produce grown on the farm is given away free to public housing residents in exchange for their help and involvement with growing, harvesting, and distributing the food. This grant will be used to help the older adults who started the farm reach out to and involve more public housing residents of all ages, with a specific focus on area youth.
Community Narratives in Williamsburg and Greenpoint
UNH is partnering with St. Nicks Alliance and other organizations in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods to develop a new practice for creating and sharing intergenerational community narratives. These narratives have two main goals:
- To build meaningful intergenerational connections through the creation of jointly developed intergenerational narratives about an important issue in people's lives
- To share this narrative with the larger community through a jointly developed video/skit/poetry slam to spark community excitement and energy
In St. Nicks' case, they are working to build a community narrative around work and jobs by bringing together a group of high school juniors and seniors with older people in the neighborhood who have had careers to build a narrative around the challenges of entering the workforce, starting a career and the changing nature of work. In addition, UNH will spearhead an intergenerational community planning process with UCC and St. Nicks to make the neighborhood more 'age friendly.'
UNH is a cohort member of the Alliance’s intergenerational initiative Second Acts for Strong Communities, testing and identifying practices and new approaches for engaging and leveraging older adult talent.
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