The Impact of Intergenerational Service

The Impact of Intergenerational Service

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCElJjBO8Zo National service in this country is predominantly age-segregated. AmeriCorps largely enrolls young adults, while AmeriCorps Seniors exclusively recruits older ones. As a result, we’re missing big opportunities to pair the...

These 10 Innovators Use Cogeneration to Advance Economic Opportunity

These 10 Innovators Use Cogeneration to Advance Economic Opportunity

Our first group of CoGen Challenge awardees are bringing older and younger people together  to boost the economic prospects of substitute teachers, artists with disabilities, people without homes, girls facing hardship in Appalachia, and so much more.   To learn more...

‘I Want These Girls to Know They Have Limitless Possibilities’

‘I Want These Girls to Know They Have Limitless Possibilities’

Gwen Johnson is the founder of Mamaw Mentorship in Eastern Kentucky and one of 10 awardees of the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity. Watch for interviews with all 10 of these innovators bringing older and younger people together to open doors to economic...

In Georgia, These AmeriCorps Members Are Building Intergenerational Bonds

Executive Director Dr. Shawonna Coleman says engaging tutors of all ages benefits the volunteers and the students and communities they serve.

By Sarah McKinney Gibson | May 24, 2023

Photo caption: Math Corps tutors Rushie Berry (left), Kamryn Spence (second from right) and Shanteria Gaines (right) with program ED, Dr. Shawonna Coleman (second from left) .

Photo caption: Math Corps tutors Rushie Berry (left), Kamryn Spence (second from right) and Shanteria Gaines (right) with Dr. Shawonna Coleman (second from left) .


What is your program called, and how does it work?

Ampact Georgia’s Reading Corps & Math Corps places AmeriCorps members of all ages in schools to serve as tutors. Our staff works with schools to identify students in need of tutorial services, assess those students, and provide the right tutoring interventions. We recruit tutors and provide rigorous training and continual support throughout their service year, matching them up with an internal coach to help them identify service opportunities in their community.

The intergenerational friendships between the tutors develop organically, since they serve at the same school and work in the same designated space for eight hours a day. They also serve the community together and have opportunities to engage with one another during professional development, training and other activities.

Why did you want to be part of Generations Serving Together, bringing cogeneration into national service?

It isn’t every day that you get to highlight how generations serve together! I knew we were doing something special with Georgia’s Reading Corps and Math Corps. Seeing the relationships of our tutors across generations shouldn’t be a well-kept secret. 

This year, as part of Generations Serving Together, we’re surveying tutors who serve in multi-age teams to learn more about the impact of serving with people from other generations. Anecdotally, we know that the older and younger members rely on each other and value their relationships. The survey will help us understand more about the value of intergenerational teams and about how to encourage intergenerational connection for the benefit of the AmeriCorps members and our students.

Being part of this cohort experience gives us the opportunity to share best practices and learn from other organizations that are bringing generations together through national service.  

What problem is your program trying to solve?

Ampact’s programs in Georgia provide high-dosage tutorial services to K-8 students to improve early reading skills and increase math proficiency. 

What’s the value of a cogenerational approach?

A cogenerational approach allows several generations to serve together and learn from one another. They leverage their different strengths while building lasting friendships. That’s great for the tutors, but it has bigger ramifications, too. These intergenerational relationships show students, educators and neighbors what an inclusive community looks like. 

What’s your big audacious vision? If you succeed, what change will we see?

My big audacious vision for our organization is to have continuity of growth and expansion into new regions. When Ampact Georgia’s Reading Corps & Math Corps is mentioned, I would like for the narrative to be that we are leading the charge with great impact by providing tutorial and service opportunities for AmeriCorps members of all ages.

How can people get involved with your work?

Anyone interested in partnering with us or becoming an AmeriCorps member in any of the states Ampact serves can visit our website at ampact.us for more information.

What’s one of your superpowers as a leader/innovator?

Discernment and strategic thinking are my superpowers. I’m able to take a limited amount of information and data points coupled with observations and experiences to make informed and strategic decisions promoting forward movement.