The Mount St. Vincent retirement home in Seattle is home to over 400 residents. It’s also home to a preschool. The results of this innovative project, dubbed the Intergenerational Learning Center, are extraordinary. Elders and young children share time, space, projects, meals and conversations. By doing so, the children learn about the normal aging process, reduce their fear of older adults, and share their love and attention. The elders, who have frequent interaction with children, discover a renewed sense of self-worth and have opportunities share their knowledge and serve as role models.
As we’re often separated by interests, race, income, geography, and yes, age, the project hits a note with people who understand the importance of being connected to the larger community—not just those most like us.
The Center is the subject of a forthcoming documentary, titled Present Perfect. Still in post-production, the film has already gone viral. A Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film soared by its initial goal of $50,000 and is now going for its stretch goal of $100,000. With 10 days left, the campaign has already raised over $90,000.
The project speaks the very human language of simplicity, beauty, joy, and being present in this moment because, after all, it’s all we have. As one woman says in the following film trailer, “There is only one time to be happy, and that time is now.”
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