Ypsilanti Intergenerational Community Solutions Institute

"When the generations don’t mix, it’s easy for them to see one another as rivals, social scientists say. By contrast, when people of all ages get to know one another, they tend to unite around shared goals instead."  -I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, the Old, and What We Can Achieve Together, Report, 2017 (Generations United and Eisner Foundation)

Engage@EMU, Generations United and the Ypsilanti Senior Center are collaborating to facilitate the Ypsilanti Intergenerational Community Solutions Institute (YICSI) - an intergenerational training and design institute that will bring together key stakeholders in Washtenaw County for a series of gatherings to collaboratively learn about intergenerational issues and plan intergenerational initiatives to reduce social isolation and improve health outcomes for all generations. YICSI will create a space for shared learning and collaboration in various capacities among key stakeholders to advance intergenerational initiatives that will lead to more equitable health benefits and resources across the generations. 

Click here to visit our blog and learn more about YICSI, or email [email protected].

Click here to read about a recent intergenerational project, created and funded through the YICSI. 

This project is supported by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund's Community Health Impact Initiative program.

Seven people gathered around a round table with markers and colored pencils in the center of it. There are six older adult women and one young man. Five people are drawing while one person explains her drawing and another woman listens.

"Age segregation also gives rise to ageism. If the generations were better integrated, we would all be less fearful of and more empathic toward people who are much older or younger than we are."  - I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, the Old, and What We Can Achieve Together, Report, 2017 (Generations United and Eisner Foundation)

  • What We Are Doing Expand dropdown

    We will design and deliver a series of workshops to provide training on intergenerational issues, organized advocacy and best practices in intergenerational program development while including time for collaborative planning and concept development. Potential workshop topics include building effective partnerships, recruiting participants, designing activities, organized advocacy, preparing youth and older adults, and evaluating impact. We will also provide an overview of intergenerational community solutions such as health and wellness, food and nutrition, climate change, gardening, literacy, mentoring, workforce development, technology, arts, and transmission of cultural traditions and knowledge. 

    We are also launching an Intergenerational Practice (IGP) Seminar for Eastern Michigan University faculty to research and practice on intergenerational practice (programs, projects, pedagogy). Through the seminar, participants will study trends, model programs, policy related to intergenerational work and research on the impact of intergenerational /co-generational experience on quality of life for all ages. Additionally, participants will be asked to either integrate an IGP component into their courses/curriculum and/or design an intergenerational/co-generational project involving community and students (graduate or undergraduate). Faculty can apply for that Seminar HERE. 

    This project will help solidify the foundation for ongoing work in Washtenaw County with both intergenerational and public health perspectives. The YICSI will train and prepare a network of new intergenerational champions in our community.

  • Why Intergenerational Work Matters Expand dropdown
    • We live in an age-segregated society.
      • 53% of American adults say that few of the people they regularly spend time with outside their family are much older or younger than they are. Age segregation has many negative impacts like giving rise to ageism and perpetuating racial, ethnic, and political divides. 
    • However we know we need each other.
      • 92% of adults believe that elders benefit from building relationships with children and youth. 93% believe that children and youth benefit from building relationships with elders. 
    • We want the young and the old to unite.
      • Nearly 9 in 10 adults believe community programs that serve kids and older adults actually end up benefitting everyone.
    • Here's how to make it happen.
      • Launch a grassroots intergenerational movement in your comunity.
      • Lobby your local government to make age integration a core value.
      • Call on organizations that serve the young to collaborate with those that serve the old.
      • Urge local foundations to support intergenerational programs.

    Information above provided by I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, the Old, and What We Can Achieve Together, Report, 2017 (Generations United and Eisner Foundation)


  • How to Get Involved Expand dropdown

    This project intends to bring together representatives from neighborhoods, relevant nonprofits, government, key institutions, and younger and older people, to learn about intergenerational strategies and design and implement solutions that benefit all generations. 

    Phase One
    • December 2022 & January 2023
    • The beginning of YICSI will be to connect and cultivate intergenerational opportunities on our campus and in our community.
    • To do this, we are hosting YICSI Information Workshops on ????????????????, both from ? am - ? pm with lunch provided. At these workshops we'll ask questions, provide resources, help orient those interested in intergenerational work to the language and practices of it, offer an opportunity to connect organizations, and facilitate possibilities. These workshops are free, open to the public and will be comprised of four parts: 
      1. Defining the intergenerational lens (Characteristics, tenets, and impact)
      2. Exploring national and local models of intergenerational activity, advocacy, & programming
      3. Addressing local assets and challenges through an intergenerational lens
      4. Building connections / Building upon your ideas
    • Before attending the workshop please read: "I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, the Old, and What We Can Achieve Together," a report from Generations United and The Eisner Foundation
    • Click here to complete our request for participation.
    Phase Two 
    • May 2023
    • YICSI will take place once a week throughout May and provide seed funding to design and launch intergenerational programming and experiences in Ypsilanti.  We begin with education and working sessions in order to familiarize possible participants to best practices including the culture around intergenerational work. 
    • Participants in the May institute will be required to create/craft a deliverable of some kind that can be of use as they lift/shape or launch intergenerational initiatives in our community.
    • To participate in the May institute you/your organization must attend one of the November or December workshops. 
  • Goals of the YICSI Expand dropdown
    • Cultivate a culture of intergenerational programming in Ypsilanti/Washtenaw County.
    • Giving people the tools, language, and structures to do intergenerational work.
    • Cultivating opportunities for intergenerational programming, networking, advocacy, initiatives and more to continue beyond the institute. 
  • Meet the Partners Expand dropdown


    Generations United

    The mission of Generations United is to improve the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all. Learn more at their website, GU.org

    Ypsilanti Senior Center 

    The Ypsilanti Senior Center is the virtual home away from home for area seniors, providing a community of peers for connection, education, and active living.  The mission of the Center is to create great experiences for older adults in a welcoming environment that encourages learning, active engagement, fitness, and healthy living. Learn more at their website, ypsiseniorcenter.org


    Engage@EMU is the University’s outward facing office charged with cultivating relationships and initiating and/or coordinating community and business partnerships and programs.

    Specifically, Engage houses Professional Programs and Training, Academic Service-Learning, Camps, the EMU Testing Center and Eastern Scholars alongside large scale Community Programs such as the Legal Resource Center, EMU Bright Futures, The Family Empowerment Program and SEMIS. Learn more at emich.edu/engage

    Michigan Health Endowment Fund

    The Michigan Health Endowment Fund is a philanthropic foundation that works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents while reducing healthcare costs.

    The Health Fund supports organizations across Michigan, from grassroots groups addressing local health challenges to large agencies working in every county. From the urban streetscapes of downtown Detroit all the way to the rural corners of the Upper Peninsula, our partners are doing innovative, evidence-based work to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents. Learn more at their website, mihealthfund.org.