(PRESS RELEASE)_Boca Raton, FL, October 5, 2023 –Boca West Children’s Foundation came to the rescue of The Fuller Center and The Volen Center, providing funding to help enable the two organizations to launch their new collaborative Intergenerational Project. The project is a full time early education program at The Volen Center where seniors and children interact, learn, play, thrive, and enhance each other’s lives. The program has just opened its doors to the children.
Ellyn Okrent, CEO of Fuller Center, told 12 children’s families who were on the waitlist for School Readiness funding through the Early Learning Coalition that they could start on opening day because Boca West Children’s Foundation saved the day by donating $13,000 in funding for October tuition for the 12 children. Fuller Center remains hopeful that the waitlist for government funding will open up soon.
The Intergenerational Project became a reality after being named a $100,000 beneficiary of the Brain Bowl Events, Inc. Volunteer Committee Project, enabling Fuller Center to establish the program. The project benefits the community by expanding the opportunity for an additional 28 children, ages 3-5 years, to access needed childcare at a time when affordable care is difficult to find.
“This new program is helping working families, including employees of The Volen Center, by offering childcare at their workplace so they are free to care for the elderly who are counting on them,” said Ellyn Okrent, CEO of Fuller Center. “Equally as important, this program gives the elderly suffering from loneliness and isolation a purpose and a reason to live. Research has shown that having a purpose improves health and has a direct correlation with the extension of life.”
In addition, the Junior League of Boca Raton made a $15,000 contribution to the program for books and educational supplies and the GEO Group contributed as well.
“Intergenerational facilities save users and communities space and money while improving the health and overall outcomes of both age groups. While these programs are widely supported, they aren’t well known and receive little funding. In fact, there are waitlists at intergenerational schools because of the benefits,” said Elizabeth Lugo, President and CEO of The Volen Center.
“Brain Bowl's mission is to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and Dementia. Intergenerational interactions are a wonderful way to reduce stress and anxiety to exacerbate those conditions,” said Pamela Higer-Polani, Founder of the Brain Bowl Events, Inc.
Numerous studies have linked social interaction with decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of disease and death. In addition, children who have early contact with older people are less likely to view them as incompetent. The children are prone to feel more comfortable around those with disabilities and impairments of all kinds than their peers who lack such experiences. Children often live far from their biological grandparents; this gives them an easier way to have daily interactions with this age group.
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