connect Finalist / 2019
ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center
ONEgeneration’s Senior Enrichment Center serves a diverse aging community for older adults as a result of integrated community partners, grass root efforts, and incorporating aspects of social connectedness and intergenerational programming. OSEC's primary focus is to provide an engaging environment by incorporating specialty services, 100+ weekly classes, access to health education & wellness services, volunteer & mentoring programs, and social activities for a growing aging population.
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
ONEgeneration is fortunate to hear stories of positive impact as a result of their services on a regular basis. Impactful moments are witnessed by staff, volunteers, and members attending ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center. The ability to provide individuals who are socially isolated, lonely and depressed the opportunity to connect to others and to the community, is what drives the services and programs of ONEgeneration’s Senior Enrichment Center.
One particular story that stands out and truly defines the impact of OSEC services is the story of Ruth. Ruth first came to ONEgeneration after hearing about the program from a conversation she overheard at the doctor’s office. Ruth is as a 72 year old widow who had been married for 48 years. After the death of her husband, Ruth’s daily visitors became less frequent and she found herself going days without interacting with another human. Ruth was feeling depressed and hopeless.
When Ruth first came into the center, she was hesitant as she didn’t feel old enough to belong to a “Senior Center”. But, as she was touring, she was instantly drawn to the vibrant music of the Zumba class and couldn’t help but notice that the members dancing to Zumba appeared to be the same age as her. Ruth soon began to attend the Zumba class once a week, which turned into twice a week. She became good friends with some of her classmates who enjoyed going on travel trips organized by the center and decided to join them. As time went on, Ruth became a regular at the center and she felt the desire to do more. Ruth was a retired high school teacher and while at the center she learned about the intergenerational mentoring program for at-risk youth from one of the center volunteers who serves lunch and also takes the Zumba class. Ruth inquired about this program, signed up to volunteer for it, and then encouraged her Zumba friends to participate. Soon she and her friends became known as the “Zumba crew”. In addition to taking an active role in reaching out to the community, engaging with people and connecting them to center’s many wonderful programs and opportunities, the crew members actively participate in the our small but meaningful at-risk-youth program.
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
- Access to free wifi
- Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
- Rates of volunteerism
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- San Fernando Valley
How will your project make LA the best place to connect?
ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center (OSEC) sees an increasing number of independent older adults seeking opportunities to stay connected. OSEC developed a network of community partners at a single site where anyone has access to numerous services and activities. OSEC strategies and tools expand and sustain an environment where older adults can connect & thrive in their communities.
Engaging community and stakeholders -OSEC engages with 50+ community stakeholders - neighborhood councils, universities, and health systems connecting them to services and supports they need to remain independent and active.
Creating Opportunities for Volunteerism- ONEgeneration incorporates volunteer services at the center as well in the field for anyone who wants connect with their community. Annually volunteers provide 20,000+ hours to OSEC programs.
Innovative, Forward Thinking Development- OSEC develops opportunities that provide support and connections for older adults, families, and children in the SF Valley and LA areas. ONEgeneration is dedicated to change-based efforts that are responsive to community issues enhancing involvement and intergenerational connections.
Social Engagement Expansion- OSEC provides older adults the ability to connect on a systemic level, including increasing access to technology. Most OSEC members are low income and do not have home Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi and technology tutoring is available at OSEC. Funds from this grant will allow for expansion of Wi-Fi services and more technology tutoring at OSEC.
The LA 65+ adult population will double to 2.1 million by 2030. With this increasing number, social isolation and loneliness will be a health concern triggering the onset of dementia, heart disease and depression. Established in 1978, OSEC was staffed by volunteers providing recreation services to older adults. As the population of older adults increased, the need for innovative, adaptable services became a priority. Our focus includes building socially vibrant opportunities and intergenerational connections for low income older adults. OSEC recognizes a shifting population of older adults who maintain their independence longer seeking opportunities to stay connected.
Open 5 days a week, OSEC offers 100+ weekly activities, 250+ members visit the center daily and 3,200 are enrolled. Connecting older adults in the community, classes and services are also provided at libraries, affordable housing buildings, and clinics.
OSEC helps make LA the best place to connect through programs and services to meet the needs of older adults. OSEC is NOT your standard Senior Center, but a site where individuals of all ages and demographics come together to CONNECT. ONEgeneration’s developing interconnected services are a natural outgrowth of our intergenerational approach. Program participants are from 35+ countries. In celebration of this diversity we offer multicultural activities to develop empathy, compassion, and understanding.
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center is dedicated to connecting 3500 older adults throughout the aging spectrum to the programs and services. Once connected, 85% of the members will engage in at least one program or service and experience increased feelings of social connectedness and decreased feelings of isolation & loneliness.
During a 12 month period-ONEgeneration will engage and enroll 500 older adults in their Senior Enrichment Center. Through participation in the center’s many programs, these individuals will increase their social and relationship building skills, decrease feelings of social isolation and loneliness, take them to venues they wouldn’t or couldn’t easily get to, and they will feel empowered to continue to connect with the community. In addition, the center’s numerous social service resources will provide these participants the personal assistance and guidance they may need.
During a 12 month period 100 individuals will engage in volunteering activities throughout the community to serve older adults, children, and at-risk youth.
Older adults attending the center will increase social skills on both a technological and in-person level through access to free Wi-fi and ongoing on-on-one intergenerational technology tutoring.