Smiles for Seniors Intergenerational Project
We connect local children with Seniors in aged care facilities
through personalised art and video messages.
To Phyllis, Love Evie
Evie, age 6, tells her senior buddy Phyllis about the beautiful work of art she created just for her.
'Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of the nation.' - Margaret Mead
The Smiles for Seniors Project is an intergeneration community initiative, conceived by Marilynn Olson - mum, for purpose marketer, and community advocate.
After reading about and hearing so many stories of the increasing isolation of seniors in aged care facilities due to the spreading COVID-19, Marilynn wanted to do something that would help. Inspired the intergenerational playgroups that she had attended with her daughter, she came up with the idea of connecting local school kids and seniors through personalised art exchanges.
Due to the risks associated with in-person contact, connecting children with seniors through digital channels would be a vital component of the program. With this in mind, Marilynn reached out to Alison Harrington, a social entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Moove and Groove. This purpose-driven organisation curates digital content and provides easy to use hardware solutions for seniors in aged care facilities.
With the essential partnership of Alison's team, industry relationships and enthusiasm, the Smiles for Seniors pilot project launched May 2020 in Lilyfield NSW at the Uniting's Aldersgate care facility. Senior residents, the local children and their parents all gave the project a super big thumbs up, and many smiles were shared.
With positivity and smiles as our fuel, the project is currently rolling out in other aged care facilities in the Sydney area. Thus furthering our mission to spread joy, create connected communities and harness the kindness and creativity of local children for the power of good.
Our project harnesses the powers of personalisation, kindness, creativity, and, of course, smiles!
Here's how it works ...
1. Aged care facilities identify Senior Buddies
Michelle Roche, Moove and Groove's amazing Lifestyle and Training manager, helps aged care facilities to identify participating residents and finds out all sorts of art-inspiring details like favourite flowers, songs and places to visit.
2. Children are paired with a Senior Buddy
Smiles for Seniors work with individual families as well as child care centres to enlist our kind kid buddies. Participating children are pre-school through primary school-aged.
3. Smiles created
The kids use the personal details from the seniors as inspiration for their artwork and stories. To make it extra smile-inducing, kids also create video messages for their senior buddies.
4. Smiles delivered
We deliver the pictures to the facilities so the residents can hang them in the rooms and show them off to family and friends. Moove and Groove host the children's video messages on their platform for residents to enjoy as often as they like!
Partners with purpose
Creator of Smiles for Seniors Project, Co-Founder Brands for Better
My experience in marketing and general management spans 2 continents, both B2C and B2B, including integrated agency, small business and start-up environments.
In 2019 I made a personal pledge to create social impact at every opportunity – at work, at home and in my community.
The Smiles for Seniors Project is my community impact baby. It is born out of my desire to drive specific, measurable social impact through the development of EQ in school children by connecting them with for purpose community initiatives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.