(Columbus, Ohio) – On Friday, September 15, Shanon Benton, Brian Masser, and student representatives of Greeneview High School in Jamestown were awarded the Social Commitment Award by LeadingAge Ohio. This award recognizes individuals outside of the healthcare provider community who make contributions to older adults which improve their quality of life, foster social awareness of aging issues, address an unmet need and result in positive behavior changes.
The award was presented during the LeadingAge Ohio Awards Luncheon as part of the LeadingAge Ohio 2017 Annual Conference and Trade Show held at the Hilton Hotel in the Easton Town Center. Greeneview has been selected as LeadingAge Ohio’s nominee for the Social Commitment award at the national level. If selected, the award will be presented at the Leading Age national conference in Washington D.C. this summer.
Three years ago, Mrs. Benton began fostering intergenerational relationships between her students with older adults in nearby Patriot Ridge Community. With the support of Greeneview principal Brian Masser, students from Greeneview High School use a videoconferencing platform to visit with residents of Patriot Ridge. The residents learn about technology, while the students learn about the history of their local community and how life has changed over the past century.
They also learn how they are similar: both young and old experience ageism, and many have similar experiences growing up in small rural, military community. Residents report increased feelings of value and reduced isolation, while students gain insight from aging adults.
“We are grateful for the many partners who recognize the dignity and worth of older adults in their local communities,” said Kathryn Brod, President/CEO of LeadingAge Ohio. “In engaging in the Skype project, Ms. Benton and Mr. Masser are helping to foster a future generation of age-friendly Ohioans.”
“Before we begin our first videoconference of the year, students are anxious and somewhat fearful as they have no idea what to expect or if they're even prepared for their time with the residents,” said Mrs. Shanon Benton, teacher at Greeneview High School. “My favorite moment is always when students see their new friends for the first time and I hear that huge collective gasp. I then see all of their faces with big smiles and I know that it will be an amazing experience. I get emotional every time because I know that our short visits are actually long on love and definitely mutually beneficial.”
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a member driven organization that represents approximately 400 long-term care facilities located in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities, as well as those providing housing services and ancillary health care across a continuum of settings. Through a recent merger with Midwest Care Alliance, LeadingAge Ohio’s members represent home care and hospice services to an even greater degree than ever before. Member organizations are estimated to serve more than 400,000 elderly Ohioans and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide. Members are sponsored by religious, fraternal, private and government organizations committed to providing quality services for their residents and for older persons in the community at large.