WHEELING, W.Va., May 24, 2017 -- Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 21 institutions nationwide to receive a $12,600 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges to implement an Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults program to enhance connections between undergraduate students and older adults in the community.
The one-year grant will be used to enhance connections between WJU students and older adults at Petroplus Tower. The program, Harvesting Health, began in 2014 with the establishment of an eight-bed community garden at the Petroplus Tower. Since that time, WJU students and volunteers and residents from Petroplus have maintained the garden, which has produced hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables.
PHOTO CUTLINE: WJU students Kailee Latocha and Hallie Richards work in the garden with two residents at Petroplus Towers. The University received a grant from the CIC to implement a program to enhance connections between undergraduate students and older adults in the community.
“This latest grant will allow us to expand on the Harvesting Health program by employing Wheeling Jesuit student workers to continue the garden located on our campus and at Petroplus,” said Beth Collins, director of WJU's Clifford Lewis S.J. Appalachian Institute.
She said the program will focus on four new components:
o Students and guest experts will hold educational food preparation, indoor gardening workshops and nutrition and health-related information sessions at regularly scheduled meetings of the Petroplus seniors. These sessions will be held when garden maintenance is minimal, making Harvesting Health a year-round project.
o Reach out to more seniors in the area to attend WJU Market Days when produce from the University's non-profit Community Garden is for sale. This would make more low price produce available to seniors in the Wheeling area.
o Arrange for the transportation and distribution of surplus produce from WJU's Community Garden to residences and senior centers serving low-income seniors
o Develop a future on-site garden at another Wheeling assisted-living facility
“This grant will allow us to continue to work towards the goal of improving the health and nutrition of seniors who have limited access or funds to purchase fresh produce,” said Collins. It also will allow the establishment of intergenerational bridges with seniors and students through collaborative activities and working together on a regular basis. This programs will helpdevelop service, social and leadership skills for WJU students, as well.”
CIC President Richard Ekman said, “CIC hopes that this pilot project will serve as a first step toward the development of a national network of programs on independent college and university campuses that promote intergenerational interaction between students and community members.”