On June 06, 2019, the MIT AgeLab, in partnership with AARP, presented the fourth annual OMEGA scholarship awards to three accomplished young adults from New England. Sidonie Brown from Brookline High School in Brookline, MA, Brook Masse from Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, MA, and Jay Park from Newton South High School in Newton, MA, were each awarded a 2019 OMEGA scholarship. OMEGA scholarships recognize young people who are leading efforts in their schools to foster intergenerational connections within their communities.
The three winners are developers and leaders of programs that support older adults’ needs, utilize their experience and wisdom, and furnish social connections across generations. Brown has led an ongoing Brookline High School program called Brookline SHOP (Students Helping Older People), which recruits students to assist independent-living older adults with grocery shopping, technology use, and other instrumental activities. Masse started a student initiative with a local retirement community in which students converse, play games, garden, and create art with the residents. Park supported a program called Spanish Immersion Jamaica Plain and Brookline, which engages Spanish-speaking older adults as conversation partners with high school students to improve students’ mastery of the Spanish language.
The OMEGA awards were presented at the MIT AgeLab before the recipients’ families, members of the MIT AgeLab’s Lifestyle Leaders Panel, Michael Festa, the director of AARP Massachusetts, AgeLab researchers, and leaders of community organizations serving older adults that collaborated in the recipients’ projects. The OMEGA scholarships will provide $1,000 toward each recipient’s college tuition and an additional $1,000 to each recipient’s school or community partner to continue their outstanding intergenerational efforts.
OMEGA, which stands for Opportunities for Multigenerational Engagement, Growth, and Action, was developed to support the development and growth of student-led programs and clubs that connect high school students with older adults. The MIT AgeLab is a multidisciplinary research organization that works with business, government, and non-governmental organizations to improve the quality of life of older adults and those who care for them.