Writing Across Generations

RSVP of Spokane County is piloting a virtual intergenerational project to connect local high school students with AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers to share stories, forge connections, and promote the benefits of journaling and creative expression.

For our pilot, we'll be partnering with The Community School (TCS), a Spokane public high school with a unique "project-centered" curriculum. The project begins April 12, 2021 with all TCS students participating.

A virtual intergenerational project in partnership with

This project is a collaboration with researchers at McMaster University who are studying creative and supportive ways to improve the cognitive and social wellbeing of older adults.

The platform they've developed, WritLarge, is an online resource for older adults to anonymously share personal life stories. Users can explore stories using themes, keywords, and other criteria, or use the 'Story Roulette' function to read randomly selected entries.

Here's how Writing Across Generations (WAG) works:

 

  • Each AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer is paired with two students for 4 weeks, meeting twice a week using Microsoft Teams breakout rooms

    • Volunteers will register as YMCA volunteers and undergo background screenings prior to participating

    • Sessions will be recorded for project staff review

  • During the first four sessions, volunteers and students use prompts and stories from WritLarge to engage in group discussions
     

  • Participants write weekly journal entries and post them to the Writing Across Generations online platform (powered by WritLarge)

    • Group members will read and discuss each other's entries each week

  • During the last four sessions, student pairs choose a story from their volunteer mentor's life to reflect on and share in a creative way (via essay, video/digital story, podcast, performance, etc.)

  • The best stories will be selected to feature on our website and share with the greater Spokane community

Our Mission

RSVP of Spokane County promotes senior volunteer opportunities to build a stronger community through partnerships that impact community needs.

 
About AmeriCorps Seniors

AmeriCorps Seniors helps meet the needs and challenges of America's communities using resources provided by grants and the energy and efforts of citizens age 55 and over. Grants administered by AmeriCorps Seniors provide funding for the following programs:

Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs.

RSVP volunteers utilize their skills and talents while serving in a variety of volunteer activities within their communities.

Senior Companions provide assistance and friendship to older adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as shopping or paying bills.

Becoming a WAG Mentor

 

  • In addition to being enrolled as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer, WAG mentors must register as volunteers of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest and undergo a criminal background check

    • CLICK HERE to access the YMCA volunteer application​

    • Under "Location you are interested in volunteering," select "Corporate Office" or leave the boxes unchecked

    • Under "Area you are interested in volunteering," select "Other" and write in "RSVP"

    • Next to "Why are you interested in volunteering with us?" put "Writing Across Generations"

    • Return your completed application to rsvp@ymcainw.org, fax to (509) 343-4096, or mail to YMCA Corporate Office, 1126 N Monroe, Spokane, WA 99201, attn: RSVP
       

  • You'll need a computer or tablet, stable internet connection, and access to Microsoft Teams (free to install, or connect through your browser)

    • If you don't have a webcam, RSVP has a limited supply of webcams available for volunteers to borrow. Just email rsvp@ymcainw.org and let us know you need one.
       

  • In March, we will provide training to all interested WAG mentors on using Microsoft Teams and the WAG online journaling platform (training date(s) TBA).

For more information, contact RSVP Director Justin Eisenstadt at jeisenstadt@ymcainw.org or (509) 720-5635.

Visit Us:

YMCA Corporate Office

1126 N Monroe St

Spokane, WA 99201

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