Olympia Teens and Elders Group Receives National Recognition

Senior Services for South Sound STEP
Two STEP participants dive into the topic of discussion at the Olympia Senior Center during a STEP session. Photo Credit: Linda Terry

Submitted by Senior Services for South Sound

The Sharing Teens and Elders Program will celebrate it’s 5th year receiving two national recognitions for this program that fosters meaningful dialog between generations. Led by founder Linda Terry, STEP meets the third Saturday each month at the Olympia Senior Center from 10:30 to 12:30. What started as just a handful of students and seniors, expecting to just meet one time, has grown into a monthly meeting sometimes getting close to 100 participants.

STEP is a perfect example of intergenerational engagement and the primary reason why the program was chosen to be featured as an “Inspiring Community Connection” in the 2018 edition of AARP’s Where We Live: A Community for All Ages. Further, STEP has also been honored as a Program of Distinction by Generations United. Generations United’s Program of Distinction designation serves as the US benchmark for intergenerational programs and is based on the criteria that underpin the effectiveness of high-quality intergenerational programs. STEP is in an elite class as a program recognized with a designation of this stature.

“STEP provides meaningful connection between youth and seniors while helping to prevent social isolation among seniors. We’ve heard from those who attend about how STEP has expanded their social network and that STEP makes them feel better.” Eileen McKenzieSullivan from Senior Services for South Sound shared. Senior Services provides ongoing funding to support STEP to offer it to seniors in our local community.

Beyond STEP, Linda has also provided STEP TWO (The Women Only) which meets the first Sunday of each month at Mercato Restaurant (111 Market ST NW) starting at 3:30. Women 21+ are invited to attend and talk story with each other. Teens or Seniors interested in attending STEP should contact Linda at 360.586.6181, ext. 108 or lterry@southsoundseniors.org. Drop-in’s welcome to each group.

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