Back when Meagan founder of AI, was still getting her undergraduate degree in 2012, she started Georgia State University’s first Adopt-A-Grandparent Program. This program is still a flourishing student-led organization at GSU. During this beginning year, Meagan facilitated events such as Reverse Trick-or-Treat, in which GSU students dressed up and visited Elder residents at AG Rhodes, a local nursing home.
After experiment with various activities and events, Meagan started her first painting program at AG Rhodes in 2013. This process began as one-to-one painting, then grew to include group painting sessions each Wednesday. Group paintings on Wednesdays began to include local Atlanta artists. The group art classes grew and happened every Wednesday for two years culminating into an art show in 2015.
Another exciting project developed by Meagan in 2013 was in partnership with local Atlanta nonprofit, GivingPoint. As AI slowly started to emerge, Meagan and GivingPoint facilitated an six-week Mentorship Series with Coan Middle School students (7th and 8th grade girls) and Columbia Residential Senior Apartment Housing. Over the course of a semester, twelve high school students and tweleve older women in their late 70s and early 80s met for an afterschool program that included discussions of lives lived, talks on segregation, and simple moments of intergenerational interactions.
In another innovative project with GivingPoint, Meagan Jain and GivingPoint worked together at Maynard Jackson High school for a Now & Later: 10th grade Service Learning project. Twenty-five students students discussed aging with a panel of five adults ages 70+. One of the panel members was 96! This was a two part series: for the 1st part, Meagan went to speak with students, educating them on older adults and the aging process; the 2nd part involved five older adults speaking to high school students, answering questions that were asked and talking about their life experiences, history, and other topics.
While continuing the art program at AG Rhodes and developing relationships with other senior communities such as Clairmont Oaks in Decatur, the most exciting part of 2014 was our Masquerade Holiday Ball at the Dorothy Benson Senior Center. Back in 2013, Meagan hosted a Winter Wonderland with the Adult Day Program at the Dorothy Benson Senior Center. This was a great way to get her feet wet and learn how to host a larger event the following year. The Masquerade Holiday Ball in 2014 was open to the whole senior center, meaning anyone who attends the center could come! This was a fun project involving many different components - students from a local private school made masquerade masks with participants at the senior center - it was these masks people wore at the dance! Live music was performed by a full band musicians all over the age of 65 and students from Chamblee High School came out to dance with everyone who came out. All in all, the Masquerade Holiday Ball was a GIANT success. Below are some photos, but if you would like to check out more pictures from this event, here they are!