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Ald. Stamper, Tod Lending Give Conference a Powerful Start

By June 16, 2017No Comments2 min read

On the first day of the Global Intergenerational Conference, attendees bridged not two, not three, but hundreds of generations…reaching back to Milwaukee’s Native American roots. Rosemarie Alloway from St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, her mother, and baby daughter got everyone energized for the opening keynote session by inviting them to join the Round Dance. This traditional Native American dance symbolizes friendship and all coming together as one.

Ald. Russell W. Stamper II from Milwaukee’s Common Council also welcomed attendees. His District 15 is home to St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus. “I love your theme, Generations Remixed, because that’s precisely what St. Ann Center has done for our community,” Stamper said. Besides bringing world-class educational and health services to the north side, he added, “St. Ann Center has brought hundreds of jobs to the neighborhood, and 90% of those jobs employ residents of the surrounding neighborhood, allowing them to work in a culturally sensitive environment in the community they live in.”

Documentary filmmaker Tod Lending shared a moving and powerful opening keynote. His film “Legacy” inspired the creation and passing of federal housing legislation on behalf of grandfamilies. In 2003, through the passage of the Legacy Act, millions of children living with grandparents received greater access to affordable housing. Using clips from his movies as illustration, Lending stressed how having support systems in place for all generations nurtures hope and resilience.

“Support creates the conditions for resilient individuals, resilient families and resilient communities,” Lending said. “When the right kinds of support are present, people can transform and make incredible changes to their lives. Families and intergenerational supports make all the difference in the lives of children—especially those growing up in situations of poverty. For many, the social fabric of the family makes the difference between failure and success, health and illness and even life and death.

“It’s now more important than ever to find ways to support families with intergenerational connections,” Lending added. “Through public policy and grassroots community-based programs; through art, literature and film;  through volunteer work, mentoring that focuses on underserved families and through good public education, I think we can make all the difference for those who are struggling.”


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