In recognition of the growing need for connecting generations and creating “age-friendly” communities, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) has approved a resolution to establish a “Cross-Age Collaboration” policy for consideration in all County services and directives in order to promote and strengthen purposeful intergenerational bonds.
The “Cross-Age Collaboration” policy is meant to serve as an educational component that underscores the benefits of connecting generations and creating intergenerational strategies that contribute to the fiscal health, economic development and sustainability of Westchester County.
“Intergenerational programs make sense because they benefit both older adults and youth. There is long standing evidence that show that both groups achieve greater health and social benefits, which ultimately saves taxpayer dollars,” said BOL Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), the sponsor of the “Cross-Age Collaboration” resolution. “The best public policies use municipal resources to create maximum benefit. Adding intergenerational components to our existing county programs is smart planning for Westchester’s residents.”
The resolution, which was unanimously approved at the BOL’s regular meeting this week, requests that the County Executive, County Commissioners and Department heads use the ideals and principles inherent in the “Cross-Age” policy when creating new programs and contracts so Westchester residents can live and work with opportunities to participate in cross-generational communication, interaction, education, advocacy and volunteerism.
“This new intergenerational policy will support ongoing and future efforts that will help bring our communities together,” said Legislator Bernice Spreckman (R-Yonkers), chair of the BOL Seniors & Constituencies Committee and a co-sponsor of the resolution. “We have to do everything possible to make sure we meet the needs of all generations and that we utilize resources to connect generations rather separate them.”
Added Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson), a co-sponsor of the resolution: “Nurturing productive, sustainable working relationships between individuals from younger and older generations improves the quality of life for all generations and creates a more vibrant, respectful society. The challenges ahead are best met with our generations cooperating and working together. It is also vital that we consider the needs of all generations when designing community programs, as well as capital projects for roads, transportation, parks and County buildings.”
“I want to thank the Board of Legislators for approving this resolution, which acknowledges that we can be doing more to spotlight careers that advance all generations, as well as offer more support for kinship care families, intergenerational mentoring programs and other intergenerational support services,” said Janice Lubin Kirschner, senior director of JCY-Westchester Community Partners, which will be helping the County to present Inter-Gen Fest 2014 on September 20 at the Greenburgh Library in Elmsford. “A healthy Westchester is one where the generations learn from each other, help each other and support each other, thereby offsetting the myths and biases that keep us apart.”