• Organizational Excellence
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Educational Success
  • Economic Opportunity, Safety and Permanency

Format: Project-Based 

Are you looking for new solutions to workforce challenges? Does your organization lack a diverse talent pipeline or needs new strategies to improve the health and well-being of community members across their lifespan? This session will provide solutions as we explore the learnings, evaluation data, and implementation strategies from the Alliance’s intergenerational initiative, Second Acts for Strong Communities.

The three-year, grant-funded initiative just recently concluded. The evaluation data demonstrated that the intentional inclusion of older adult talent and intergenerational models have a lasting and positive impact across all stakeholders ─ including the organization, the youth served, and the Second Acts talent. Adults 50+ offer experience, skills, and lower turnover to the workplace, as well as empathy, healing relationships, and commitment to the youth and families in the community. They also provide critical talent and capacity to the organizations they serve. These intergenerational models also help increase youth outcomes related to confidence, relationships, and performance in school, while enhancing the health, life satisfaction, and longevity of the older adult population, leading to stronger communities as a whole. 

This presentation will explore the nine demonstration sites’ journeys, challenges, best practices, and recommended implementation strategies, leading to stronger workforces and models that increase the sense of belonging, purpose, and connection among community members. Participants will not only hear informative first-hand experiences from executing this work but will also be introduced to tangible resources and instructional tools to support efforts to build intergenerational models. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop stronger human capital strategies as they learn about the unique value proposition older adults bring to an organization and how to best leverage this population 
  • Learn how to more effectively and efficiently utilize this older talent pool through a variety of models, approaches, and successful implementation strategies 
  • Be empowered to integrate intergenerational and 50+ talent models into organizations through easy to use resources and instructional ‘how to’ tools 


  • Emily Merritt, director of intergenerational initiatives, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities 
  • Jane Bavineau, vice president of the health and wellness division, BakerRipley  
  • Terry Kaelber, director of the Institute for Empowered Aging, United Neighborhood Houses of  New York  
  • Nancy Meegan, vice president of human resources, Ascentria Care Alliance  
  • José Rivera, assistant director of senior engagement and connection, BakerRipley  
  • Leigh Routman, director of community engagement, Alpert Jewish Family Service  
  • Janet Waters, manager of intergenerational workforce, Ascentria Care Alliance  
  • Eric Weaver, director of community engagement, Lad Lake

Emily Merritt
Director of Intergenerational Initiatives
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities 

As Director of Intergenerational Initiatives, Emily is leading the initiative to not only bring second act talent (experienced adults 50+) into the Alliance network, but to also help change the way our communities think about and utilize older adult talent. Prior to this role, Emily worked with Ways to Work, providing support to the nationwide network of program operators. She led the Enhanced School-Based Mentoring Model at Big Brothers Big Sisters, directly benefiting Milwaukee youth through school-based mentoring partnerships. She also worked at ElderHelp in San Diego, building an entrepreneurial model that leveraged community supports to help seniors remain independent in their own homes. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

José Rivera 
Assistant Director of Senior Engagement and Connection 

José Rivera is the assistant director of senior engagement and connection at BakerRipley in Houston. He oversees case management, volunteer services, intergenerational programs, and BakerRipley’s participation in the Second Acts for Strong Communities pilot project.  

A Houston resident since 2004, Rivera received his bachelor’s from the University of Houston and has an executive master’s in public administration from Texas Southern University. He has over 14 years of experience in community development and government service, with an expertise in building strategic partnerships interfacing with government entities, nonprofit organizations, and community residents. 

Leigh Routman 
Director of Community Engagement 
Alpert Jewish Family Service 

Leigh Routman is the director of community engagement at Alpert Jewish Family Service. In this role, she oversees numerous volunteer programs. Routman is responsible for the onboarding of volunteers, their placement in their specific roles within the organization, and their ongoing training. 

She also oversees the organization’s participation in the Second Acts for Strong Communities pilot project, as well as numerous other programs focusing on “boomer engagement.” Routman has been a social worker for over 25 years. She received her bachelor’s from University of Florida and her master’s in social work from Barry University.  

Eric Weaver 
Director of Community Engagement 
Lad Lake 

Eric Weaver is a veteran youth advocate with extensive experience in education, juvenile justice, and social service. His is currently the director of community engagement at Lad Lake. In this role, he works to stimulate growth within the organization and staff so that they can support growth in the youth and families that we serve. He specializes in doing extraordinary things by working with other ordinary people. 

Nancy Meegan 
Vice President of Human Resources 
Ascentria Care Alliance 

Nancy Meegan is vice president of human resources at Ascentria Care Alliance, a New England-based nonprofit, with 1,400 employees headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts. Throughout her career, Meegan has had a passion for mission-driven nonprofits. She began as a child and family clinician and for the past 25 years has worked in human resources leadership positions. She is committed to finding and supporting outstanding staff and embraces a diverse workplace.  

Jane Bavineau 
Vice President of the Health and Wellness Division  

Jane Bavineau is a social worker by education and training, and she has worked in the field of gerontology for nearly 40 years. As vice president at BakerRipley, she has leadership responsibility for a variety of services, including 11 senior centers, numerous evidence-based health promotion programs, in-home services, a dementia-specific day center, case management, and various caregiver support services. Prior to her current position, Bavineau was the founder and executive director of Care for Elders, a partnership of more than 80 organizations dedicated to informing public policy and enhancing community practice to improve the lives of older adults and family caregivers in Houston/Harris County. 

Janet Waters 
Manager of Intergenerational Workforce 
Ascentria Care Alliance 

Janet Waters is manager of the intergenerational workforce at Ascentria Care Alliance. She works to engage age 50+ talent to support Ascentria’s mission in its work with children and youth. In her role, Waters promotes paid and unpaid opportunities to create meaningful intergenerational experiences between older adults and young people.  

Waters has recent extensive experience consulting to and delivering services for families with children of different needs, multiples, and mental health issues. 

Previously, Waters has held a variety of positions in the field of Criminal Justice. She was clinical director and then program director for a locked treatment facility for violent juvenile offenders, specializing in sex offender therapy and clinical group therapy for gang members. Waters also has experience in the adult correctional system, serving as the director of volunteer services and then director of classification for the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston. 

Waters earned her bachelor’s in history and women’s studies from Yale University and earned the Dupuis Award for Scholarship. She earned her master’s in divinity at Harvard University where she won the Billings Prize for Preaching. 

Terry Kaelber 
Director of the The Institute for Empowered Aging 
United Neighborhood Houses of New York 

Terry Kaelber is the Director of the Institute for Empowered Aging at United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH). While at UNH, he directed New York’s participation in a six-year national initiative to demonstrate the impact older people can have to drive change and strengthen their communities. Working in partnership with NYC’s Department for the Aging, Kaelber extended this approach to aging into New York City Senior Centers through the practice of self-directed project teams of older people who are empowered to launch community service projects that address local needs and meet community challenges.  

Prior to working at UNH, Kaelber was the executive director of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders); a delegate at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging; a recipient of the SHARE Award for Innovations in Aging from the University of Pennsylvania; and director of the Neighborhood Ownership Works Program for the City of New York. Kaelber has presented widely on aging issues throughout the U.S. and in Europe and holds a master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.