Welcome to Generation Two!
Generation Two is a non-profit organization that listens to children and speaks to the community. The G2 mission is to create vibrant intergenerational friendships that promote social and emotional strength necessary for children to thrive in their classrooms, in their neighborhoods and in their community.
Play Powers Progress
Play is essential to human development as it contributes to a child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing. (American Academy of Pediatrics 2006). Children learn best through play and play is the primary work of children in all cultures.
However, opportunities for free play for many children are declining both at school and at home due to over-scheduled activities or unsafe neighbors.
Play Powers Learning
G2’s 120 volunteers use play as the catalyst to form trusting relationships with each child. In the safety of this relationship, children learn how to be in healthy relationships with people who care about them. By playing a game, children learn how to count spaces, read, plan ahead, take turns, and develop empathy and trust. Building with Legos teaches math skills, following directions, spatial relationships, balance and cooperation. These skills are the keys to living successful lives.
See for yourself … check out our video!
Generation Two and the Power of Three
Senior citizens and college students remain an underused source of social capital. Generation Two recruits volunteers through partnerships with senior citizen groups, local colleges, and other community organizations. The selection process involves information meetings, individual interviews and security checks. In-service training by mental health professionals and educators prepare and guide the volunteers in their relationship building and advocacy work.
As part of the Generation Two project, all children participating in a Kindergarten, first or second grade classroom are invited to weekly play and conversation meetings with an adult friend. G2 does not target children with special needs. The play and conversation meetings are thirty minutes long; the volunteer friends meet with each child on an individual basis; and the volunteers maintain their friendships with the same three or four children throughout the year. Generation Two is child-centered rather than curriculum-based. Children choose or initiate the direction and themes for a meeting. The Generation Two participants nurture the children’s ability to identify and communicate their thoughts and feelings. This experience represents an advocacy for children’s emotional and social competence, i.e., recognize and use emotional resources and social skills to cope with school academic and social challenges before a crisis. A yearlong in-service program instructs the volunteers about the power and benefits of the play experience.
Check out our video on volunteering with G2!
Generation Two builds on the experiences from the friends’ intergenerational relationships. The Generation Two adults work and mobilize their peers to work with parents, educators and public officials on community issues that impact the young child’s education and health. Generation Two child advocates communicate to their community through their own social contacts and direct democratic strategies, such as letter writing campaigns, petition drives, participation on citizen panels, and speaking engagements. Generation Two maintains a leadership network of friends who have worked in the schools and will continue to serve as part of grassroots child advocacy movements. This advocacy network reflects the best use of social capital on behalf of children.