UNH Seeks Input on New Program to Build Intergenerational Networks

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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DURHAM, N.H.—Armed with a grant from the Corporation for National and Community service to develop a new AmeriCorps program in New Hampshire that will provide volunteer opportunities for high school graduates and assist older adults, the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire is hosting a series of meetings around the state to turn the idea into reality.

Granite State Scholars (GSS) will allow high school graduates to volunteer for one to two years, working with older adults and building stronger intergenerational networks, in exchange for reduced tuition at any public New Hampshire college or university.  

While the hope is the program will allow older adults in the Granite State to stay in their homes longer leading to a decrease in state Medicaid cost as well as provide financial support for students that encourages them to pursue higher education in the state, Michele Holt-Shannon, director of NH Listens at UNH, an initiative of the Carsey School, is looking for even bigger payoffs.

“This program will help us as a society to disrupt stereotypes of what it’s like to work with these two groups of people and to address three significant challenges facing our state—a lack of accessible and affordable elder care, high in-state tuition and student debt, and a lack of connection between our youth and the older population,” she said. “It’s a win in so many ways.”

The initial idea for the collaboration came from Matt Wilhelm ‘16G, who first presented it in last year’s NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge at UNH. The SVIC is an idea-stage competition with the goal of inspiring students and community members to develop novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions to some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

“It is wonderful to see this pioneering idea, developed by one of UNH’s graduates, being nurtured and supported by faculty and staff at UNH to help it to come to fruition,” said Fiona Wilson, executive director of the Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise, which organizes the challenge. The center is a joint venture between the Carsey School and the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics.

“There’s so much potential when it comes to leveraging national service as a strategy to address our state’s most pressing challenges while simultaneously providing affordable college pathways for young people who serve,” said Wilhelm. “We have a strong tradition of service in our state but we’ve really only begun scratching the surface.”

For a schedule of upcoming meetings or to receive updates on the planning process visit https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07efqsfx61b8ed3580&oseq=&c=&ch=

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.