As part of the BRIC initiative funded by the Illinois Public Health Institute, Healthier Together was happy to help kickstart the first Midwest edition of the Plant Pals intergenerational program in the East St. Louis and Washington Park footprint. The program curriculum and training was provided from the Addressing Loneliness with Movement and Art (ALMA) group, based out of UCLA and is primarily focused on the mitigation of loneliness and isolation issues experienced by seniors within the community. Attending seniors participate in various activities that include music therapy, movement, art, and more with youth volunteers, and trained curriculum instructors. This program helps to address the BRIC initiative of Social Connectedness.
Plant Pals is being hosted at the Avant Elementary School in Washington Park in collaboration with Healthier Together, AgeSmart Community Resources, Health Visions, Sunshine Cultural Arts Center, and several local churches. Fourth and fifth grade students, school administrators, and teachers help to facilitate the sessions twice a month on the first and third Thursdays from 4-6pm. The program began on October 28th and is scheduled to run through December 16th of 2021. Additional sessions throughout the St. Clair County Area are being planning for 2022.
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Funding for this project was made possible (in part) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The views expressed in written materials or publications do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.