About Generations Serving Generations
If you aren’t familiar with Generations Serving Generations (GSG), it is a longtime public/private partnership with a history of connecting generations and organizations. The coalition started in 1986 with a statewide retreat to examine how generations and organizations could work together. It was one of the first formal P-20+ discussions in Illinois.
Fast-forward to 2008, when the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices selected Illinois as one of 14 states to participate in a civic engagement project related to learning, service and work. Led by the Illinois Department on Aging and the Serve Illinois Commission, Illinois championed the civic engagement of older adults as a way to boost leadership in communities and tap the great resource of older generations. On May 11, 2009 Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno sponsored a gathering in the Senate to reflect on the great potential of older adults, particularly in service. Over 200 participants representing four generations discussed the changing image of retirement and how Illinoisans envision a state where the talents of older and younger generations aren’t left on the sidelines.
In 2013, Generations Serving Generations joined with the McCormick Foundation to promote news literacy with the goal of developing skills for judging fact from fiction, which is an issue for all generations. Overloaded with information, people ask, “What should I believe?” In 2014, Generations Serving Generations along with 15 organizations, drafted a Senate Resolution to celebrate the contributions of volunteers and ultimately connect programs and resources that can bring a more united volunteer effort throughout Illinois.
In a nutshell, Generations Serving Generations, was built on the strong intergenerational traditions that have been fostered by Continuance Magazine, supported by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Department on Aging, and the leadership of service, education, aging and business.
Generations Serving Generations Leadership Team
Scott McFarland, executive director, Serve Illinois Commission and Dr. John Holton, Concordia University Center for Gerontology are chairs.
Members include: Peggy Luce, Luce Consulting; John Hosteny, Corporation for National and Community Service; Louis Kosiba, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund; Melinda LaBarre, Illinois State Board of Education; Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, DuPage Regional Office of Education; Jacqui Moreno and Eduardo Brambila, Illinois Student Assistance Commission; Joyce Gallagher, Chicago Area Agency on Aging; Tony Pierce, Heaven’s View Christian Fellowship; Natalie Furlett, Illinois Campus Compact; Jonathan Lackland, Illinois State University; Pat Bearden, American Family History Institute; Fred Nettles, Partner For Hope Program, Illinois Dept. of Human Services; Katie Raynor, East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging; Doug Brauer, Richland Community College; Onie Riley, African-American Family Commission; Barb Tubekis, Illinois Volunteer Centers; Brandon Bodor, Second Front Systems and Franklin Project Ambassador, Aspen Institute; Deb Strauss and Matthew John Rodriguez, P-20 Council and Illinois PTA; Isabella Martinez, Netwings; Arthur Sutton, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Nisan Chavkin, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago; Susan Drone, Illinois Community College Board; Mark DePue, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library; Jenne Meyers, Chicago Cares; Bernie Wong, Chinese American Service League, Jennifer Reif and Alissandra Calderon, Illinois Department on Aging, Jacob Nudelman and Kelia Beck, Serve Illinois Commission; and Dr. Jane Angelis, Continuance Magazine If you are interested in joining GSS, send an email.
New Directions for 2016
1. Service is for a Lifetime: Young children begin to develop the habit of service by helping around the house, learning both the skills and responsibilities that contribute to the family. As they enter school and move through the education pipeline, different service and learning settings can and should continue. As adults and older adults, service enriches communities and helps fulfill the responsibility of individuals to their Democracy. Individuals may be hesitant to serve because they think they have nothing to contribute, but an invitation from current volunteers will help overcome their reluctance.
2016: Consider service part of growth and development at all stages of life.
Strengthen the habit of service: Invite others to volunteer with you––Just ask!
2. Volunteering is Enriched by Reflection: Reflecting on the service experience—formally or informally, alone or in groups—is the key to making service a worthwhile learning opportunity at every stage in life. Through quiet reflection, writing in a journal, or discussing the experience with others, those involved gain valuable insight into what they have learned, what the service means to them and how it has benefited the community.
2016: Promote service learning across generations
Support the civics movement
3. Volunteering Connects People and Organizations: Communities are strengthened when they recognize and engage the assets and resources of their citizens across generations. However, often one message isn’t adequate to reach all generations. One of the frequent points of humor during the Year of the Volunteer, was when generations compared their communication preferences and the way they communicate.
2016: Learn more about the communication preferences of each generation when sending messages; whether it is newspapers, TV, Facebook, Twitter, radio, phone, letter or face-to-face conversation.
4. The Infrastructure of Service Is a Key to the Growth of Service in Illinois: One of the big lessons learned in 2015, was about the visible and invisible web of connections between organizations that often happen as a result of volunteer programs. One of the goals is to strengthen the infrastructure of service by learning more about connections in communities and throughout Illinois.
2016: Participate in the Serve Illinois Hearings for the State Service Plan
Get involved with your regional and community volunteer infrastructure.
Watch the Serve Illinois website for announcements.