Crossing Paths is an intergenerational discussion program that brings small groups of teens and older adults together once per week for meaningful, thought-provoking discussions on a variety of topics. Adult volunteers are able to share their life experiences and make connections with youth. Students are able to hear the perspectives of an older generation, work on communication skills, and tell their own stories.
ETA’s Crossing Paths projects take place in many different settings, but they all bring older adults and young people together to:
The student groups we work with choose one of the follow themes for each session:
Theme 1: Identity, Choices, & Meaning
Participants will discuss identity and values formation, through the lens of home and family, heritage, school life and education, college and career, and life choices/life lessons. They will have the opportunity to reflect more deeply on their everyday lives, thinking about how their past has led them to today, and where their path could go in the future.
Theme 2: Civic Engagement
Participants will explore the meaning of community: what defines their own communities and what makes an “ideal” community. They will think about issues that affect their communities, who has power to affect those issues, and the different forms of leadership and change-making. With the support of their group, each individual will create, execute, and reflect on their own small-scale community engagement project.
Theme 3: Current Events
Participants will discuss a different current events topic each week. ETA staff selects topics from a list brainstormed by participants, aiming for a balance of international, national, and local issues. Participants will share their perspectives and be encouraged to consider what different perspectives might be, as well as how the issue relates to them at their generational stage. At the end of each week, we will watch or read a brief news item to give an introduction to the next week’s topic.
Theme 4: Silver Screenings – Watch & Discuss
Participants will watch a television excerpt or sitcom (20-30 min) each week together, then discuss what they saw, focusing on comparing the time period and themes of the show to their own experiences and to the world today. We’ll also look at the ways different generations are portrayed in the media. Shows are selected from the 1950s-2000s.