At each Eden Alternative International Conference, we get a chance to take a fresh look at culture change as a community issue. Through Building Bridges, Elders and youth, ages 11 to 15, come together to learn more about each other and the value of reframing aging and attitudes about care. The concept was inspired by the notion that deep transformation relies firmly on education of the young and older alike. The ultimate goal of Building Bridges is to empower youth participants to become change agents at the grassroots level. Living by example, they have the opportunity to play a crucial role in shifting the culture of care and perspectives on aging in our communities.
Dillon Spies, a 2008 graduate of Building Bridges says, “Building Bridges greatly impacted the way I view Elders. I’ve always tried to show great respect and admiration toward Elders, but before I went through Building Bridges, I never really felt like I understood how they might feel. I learned about the three plagues of loneliness, boredom, and helplessness and the effects they have on our frail Elders. I learned how much they appreciate it when you just take the time to sit and talk to them, and how fun it can be to hear about their lives and their experiences as a kid.”
Building Bridges participants explore the Eden Alternative Principles through Eden Apprentice Training, experience the power of story side by side with an Elder storyteller, and have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Thomas during an interview on the last day of the conference. Registration is limited to 16 participants, so register early.
Remember, our youth hold the promise of a better tomorrow!