Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
In Milan lives 394,673 over-60 people with a trend of significant growth. The data on their health conditions reports a positive and active aging: 83,6% claim to feel "good" or "very good";only 16.4% claim to feel "bad" or "very bad“.
Every month in Milan, there are 94,722 over-54 people that volunteer and give informal help. This therefore means that every month 25% of those over 54 provides an average about 32 hours of informal care and free of charge: older people often have energies to work and to become a potentially important resource of a community welfare. According these data, the project elaborated its strategy: local communities, educational agencies i.e. the kindergarten - represent actors to be involved in new projects: the talents of aged people
The active volunteering data of the elderly population in Milan show us that active aging means that aged people do not lose at all the possibilities and the desire to design new experiences of working life, and to realize them, in case of favorable conditions in terms of organization, proposals, and communication. Kindergarten are places to build and nurture future talent (children 3-6 years old) and so are ideal laboratories to work on intergenerational, in a perspective of exchange, ongoing and lasting relationship between these two age groups because often their needs resemble (need for attention, care, love).
In addition to these "latent" resources to be exploited there is a worrying reduction of economic resources and staff in kindergarten with the decline of educational offer and the reduction of educators employment, i.e. service hours. Hence the project has born as an intervention both of social cohesion and of active volunteer in schools that exploit the talents of over 60/65 to strengthen the growth of future citizens, the children.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The project started with the search, selection and training of volunteers; then the project looked for schools adhering to the proposal; the project endorsed those schools closer to the volunteer homes and with a management willing to help elderlies to start a continuing and permanent relationship with their children and teachers.
Our volunteers do not have family relationship with the children who attend the kindergarten: so they have become Grandparents of all, a precious collective resource for schools and teachers, with whom they have been sharing their skills and activities; they have become important presence for the children, who establish a new relationship with a generation that is often away for logistical or social reasons (immigration, separation, distance); finally, beyond the emotional Grandparent-Children relationship they live with, elderlies felt the new gratification of being active and valued by their community.
Volunteers provide 2h availability for one or more mornings a week to pass on "endangered crafts", stories and tales of life or simply to share with them their own "talent." Their presence therefore wish to provide precious, continuous and long-lasting relationships to children , and at the same time to give the adults involved a chance of social involvement from a service-to-community perspective, and of feeling to be useful and active in the growth of children, citizens of the future.
Our project has a strategic core the desire of the elderly to project himself (the ability, knowledge, experience) and its "re-actualization" through the exchange experiential with the child. An exchange is not pure service assistance or care (I'll cross the street, I'll do homework) but of relationship and interaction that comes from the building together an activity of life of the elderly. Another aspect of our proposal is the territorial dimension as an opportunity for relational continuity. The school is the neighborhood where grandfather lives, children are children of the same district and therefore potentially the relationship or even simply recognize can also be done outside of class. This experience of active citizenship is defined not only how to donate time, but is based on giving future generations the experiences and history in order to build a new relationship to be able to do together.