Oasis and Washington University Offer Meaningful Intergenerational Program Experiences for Members
Second-year occupational therapy students from Washington University participated in a 2-semester course that combines service-learning in community-based settings with management principles. During the fall semester, students were placed in groups of seven to eight and ten partnered with a community organization, conducting a needs assessment, and developing a 4-6 week program to be delivered during the spring semester. Community partners participated in a discussion with the students, offering insight into the needs of the organization or the population served. At the conclusion of the fall semester, the students “pitched” their final program proposals to the community organizations as part of the class.
Dr. Lauren Milton, a faculty member at the Washington University-Occupational Therapy (OT) program, rallied community organizations to partner with graduate students to develop and implement community programs. Milton reached out to Oasis Community Outreach Manager Sharon Hales. The partnership would soon become a wonderful opportunity to bring college students and Oasis members together. Hales quickly connected with Oasis health team colleague Marissa Sandbothe to help with project feasibility, design, and implementation.
During the spring semester, student groups implemented their developed programs, then evaluated those programs and provided a report to the community partner as a culminating activity. The programs ranged from serving the population the organization services or providing a program to the actual organization’s employees and/or volunteers. Each student group had a licensed occupational therapist serving as a mentor through the course who attended all of the program sessions as a way to provide assessment of students for the purposes of the course. Students designed programs keeping in mind the unknowns of today, so they planned for both in-person and virtual – remaining flexible.
The results were exciting! Students designed new virtual programs in lifelong learning and technology; a diversity, equity, and inclusion training; exercise and health programs; topics for the telephone-based program Conversation that Count for Oasis members without technology; and wonderful outdoor activities like the Mind Body Connection walking series and gardening.
Washington University OT students, their supervisor and Oasis members met for five Monday mornings – walking the Great Rivers Greenways (GRG) and Laumeier Sculpture Park and journaling their experiences. Oasis walking leader, Donna Graef, also provided invaluable support by working with the students which brought this series to fruition.
More than 40 Oasis members registered for the program and over 30 attended every week. Thank you, Washington University OT faculty and students, for an extraordinary partnership and intergenerational program experience for members and staff.