The City of Milwaukee has been awarded the title of one of America’s Best Intergenerational Communities. The award, sponsored by MetLife Foundation and Generations United, recognizes Milwaukee for its leadership and innovation in creating a desirable place to live for all ages.
The award application was co-authored by Mayor Barrett and St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. During a visit to our Stein Campus on March 23, Mayor Barrett addressed an audience that ranged from babies in strollers to older adults using wheelchairs.
“We’re at a time when so much of what we’re trying to do as a city is teach respect for others,” – Mayor Barrett
Citing St. Ann Center as a place where that happens on a daily basis, he went on to comment about the Center’s recent opening of a second intergenerational day care in the central city adding, “I’d be the happiest camper and the happiest mayor in the world if we could just do, what…another 12?”
A panel of judges selected the winning communities from applicants from across the country. This year, Milwaukee and Eastman Community Association of Grantham, New Hampshire, joined 18 communities that have been recognized since the awards program began in 2010. Past winners from Wisconsin include the Village of Shorewood and the Greater Plymouth Area. Speaking about Milwaukee’s recognition. St. Ann Center President Sister Edna Lonergan, OSF, said, “God says we are all equally important. And that’s why it’s important to keep on supporting the extended family. Our older adults are tremendously valuable in nurturing the lives of our young.”
According to Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a national advocate for children, youth and older adults, “It takes a great deal of effort and forward thinking to create a community where members of every generation thrive and want to live. This award demonstrates Milwaukee’s commitment to support quality of life for residents of all ages, promote collaboration between generations and empower individuals of all ages to share their talents and resources with the community.”
More than 60 organizations, foundations, programs and individuals were spotlighted in Milwaukee’s application, for their focus on connecting the generations. Just some of them include:
- The Intergenerational Council, a part of the Milwaukee County Commission on Aging, made up of Milwaukee students, adults and older adults who discuss community issues and develop intergenerational programming to address them
- Villard Square Library, a mixed-use development that includes a Milwaukee Public Library branch on the first floor, with 47 apartment homes on three stories above for families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren
- Interfaith’s Retired Senior Volunteer and Foster Grandparent programs
- Aged to Perfection, an undergraduate class on aging and life transitions developed by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) students and residents from Saint John’s on the Lake Retirement Community
- Timeslips, which trains and partners UWM students with community groups to facilitate storytelling with older adults—many with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
- The Buddy Program, St. Ann Center’s service learning program that joins youth with seniors and adults with disabilities at Milwaukee community centers and day programs
Presentation of this year’s award will take place on April 19 at AARP’s Innovation Lab in Washington, D.C. The Best Intergenerational Communities Awards Program is made possible by a grant from MetLife Foundation. The 5th annual awards program coincides with Generations United’s 30th anniversary.
About the MetLife Foundation: MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. MetLife Foundation is affiliated with MetLife, Inc, a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
About Generations United: For three decades, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.