Imagine that you are part of an organization whose mission centers on helping teenagers. Needing volunteer mentors during a part of the day when most adults are working, a friend suggests you approach the senior citizen community for help. While you are excited about the possibilities, you really don't know how you are going to accomplish such a task. Who do you talk to? More importantly, how do you bridge the cultural gaps to make an intergenerational program between teenagers and senior citizens succeed? On your own you would be left navigating all the challenges and setbacks that come with pioneering such an effort. Yet, what if you could partner with a group that already specialized in this kind of work? By being a part of the United for University Place coalition, you would have ready access to such a group though United for University Place member, Michelle Mclean, founder of Peace Out. Not only is she an expert in intergenerational work, but she could become a powerful resource and partner for what you are doing.
When people ask me what United for University Place does, I like to use the above scenario; it's the story of what we are all about. I believe our community is best served when organizations diversify their efforts rather than reduplicate existing services, when we help each other see our city from new perspectives that challenge stale assumptions, and when members of the community share resources rather than compete for them. Resources come in many different forms—sometimes they are tangible goods such as blankets or food, sometimes they come as monetary assistance, but often the most valuable resources come in the form of sharing one's knowledge and experience as in our opening scenario. Diversifying efforts, sharing perspectives, and sharing resources do not happen when organizations and people remain insulated from each other; they must come together and build relationships!
United for University Place is a coalition that values bringing together all who are concerned with the well being of University Place. At one of our typical meetings, you will find representatives from our schools, churches, city, fire and police departments, non-profit organizations, and businesses, as well as private citizens. Together we build relationships, identify needs and available resources, and seek to form collaborative partnerships.
Typically, United for University Place meets during lunch on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the University Place Library. On February 21, we are taking a break from our normal schedule to host a special breakfast networking event at 7:30am. We would love to have you attend! Perhaps you are not looking at starting an intergenerational program, but you just might meet people and find resources pertaining to the things you are passionate about. You might even find that you have something valuable to offer somebody else, all for the good of University Place! Check out our website, sign up for our newsletter, and RSVP for the networking breakfast. www.unitedforup.org