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Generations United Podcast

Kids & Family Podcasts

Join our host Donna Butts and other members of the Generations United team for the Generations United Podcast. Episodes feature candid and lively conversations with luminaries on intergenerational and grandfamilies/kinship families topics. Tune in to learn how to strengthen our communities and improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational relationships as well as better support youth and caregivers in grandfamilies.


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Join our host Donna Butts and other members of the Generations United team for the Generations United Podcast. Episodes feature candid and lively conversations with luminaries on intergenerational and grandfamilies/kinship families topics. Tune in to learn how to strengthen our communities and improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational relationships as well as better support youth and caregivers in grandfamilies.








BONUS: Building Resilience: Supporting Grandfamilies’ Mental Health and Wellness

Generations United released our 10th annual "State of Grandfamilies" report on November 8, 2023. The report, Building Resilience: Supporting Grandfamilies’ Mental Health and Wellness, outlines the reasons grandfamilies have mental health concerns yet have more trouble accessing mental health services and supports for both children and their caregivers due to lack of availability, lack of legal authority, and limited understanding of grandfamilies’ needs among providers, cost, stigma, and ageism. This situation has been exacerbated by Covid-19, racial violence, and opioid use, the report found. Children who have faced traumatic loss or traumatic situations which led to them growing up in families without their parents are particularly susceptible to experiencing mental health concerns. Additionally, gaps in America’s social safety net make it harder for these children to receive the care they need. This event highlighted the key facts, findings, and recommendations from the report and included poetry and spoken word from grandfamilies and a powerful conversation with members of grandfamilies and Dr. Joseph Crumbley about the importance of mental health. The discussion contains information related to mental health and wellness. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This conversation and the referenced report may contain sensitive or distressing material. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek immediate help from a qualified mental health professional or contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing “988” on your phone. Speakers: Donna Butts, Executive Director, Generations United Sonia Emerson, Child Welfare and Social Justice Advocate, ChildFocus Partners Brittney Barros, Youth Advocate, Michigan Angela Clements, Generations United GRAND Voice, Wisconsin Dr. Joseph Crumbley, Trainer, Consultant, and Therapist Bob Ruble, Generations United GRAND Voice, California Special thanks to The Brookdale Foundation Group for making this report and event possible, and to Centene Corporation for their valuable support. Read the report: Support the show


BONUS: Release of the New Report Strengthening Cultural Responsiveness in Intergenerational Programs: Passion, Purpose, and Planning to Drive Equitable Change

This event co-hosted by Generations United and RRF Foundation for Aging on October 5, 2023, highlighted the recommendations in the new report Strengthening Cultural Responsiveness in Intergenerational Programs: Passion, Purpose, and Planning to Drive Equitable Change. This event explored the challenges and successes of organizations embarking on a diversity journey and those already prioritizing cultural responsiveness. We heard from a panel of intergenerational program practitioners whose work focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Speakers: Jatrice Martel Gaiter, Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Volunteers of America and Vice-Chair, Generations United Board of Directors Serena Worthington, Senior Program Officer and Director of Equity & Inclusion, RRF Foundation for Aging Kristi Guillory Reid, Report Author and Independent Consultant Tony Collins, Executive Director, T.I.H.S. Class of ‘74 Read to Me Genevieve Leighton-Armah, Executive Director, Bay Area Black Leaders and CoGenerate Innovation Fellow Nikki Moustafa, Housing Director, H.O.M.E. Support the show


Special Episode: Cultural Responsiveness in Intergenerational Programs

From the vaults! Check out Generations United's webinar on the importance of cultural responsiveness in intergenerational programming. This virtual event held in August 2022 and made possible with support from the RRF Foundation for Aging, was co-hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging and included examples of organizations bringing younger and older people together in diverse communities and provided practical recommendations for designing programs and activities that reflect different cultural norms and values. About the Speakers This event was facilitated by Dr. Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq), Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and featured opening remarks from Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts. They are joined by Marva Overton, the Executive Director of the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas who operates Inter-generational Gardening Soul to Soul, a program that brings youth and elders together to construct and maintain vegetable gardens; Dr. Danica Brown (Choctaw) the Behavioral Health Director at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, a non-profit tribal advisory organization serving the 43 federally-recognized tribes of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and Katherine Kim the Program Director for the Koreatown Storytelling Program, a multimedia oral history that brings together high school journalists and community elders from the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Support the show


Episode 19: Mary O'Donnell and Ernest Gonzales on the Benefits of Intergenerational Programs

A few months ago, Generations United released our latest set of free resources—developed with support from RRF Foundation for Aging—aimed to strengthen and expand intergenerational programs. The publications—Making the Case for Intergenerational Programs, Fact Sheet: Intergenerational Programs Benefit Everyone, and Staying Connected While Staying Apart: Intergenerational Programs & the COVID-19 Pandemic—support the growing field of practice by increasing the knowledge and skills of people working to connect and support older adults, children, and youth. Mary O'Donnell, president of RRF, joined our Executive Director Donna Butts and Ernest Gonzales, Ph.D., who led the development of Generations United's new resources. Dr. Gonzales is also an associate professor and director of the MSW Program at NYU Silver School of Social Work. This episode focuses on how the RRF Foundation for Aging came to include intergenerational programs in their funding priorities and what the Foundation has learned about intergenerational programs. The episode also explores what Dr. Gonzales and his research team learned while creating the intergenerational tools. Other resources mentioned during this interview include: Encore.orgThe Power of Connecting the GenerationsGenerations UnitedStronger Together: Funders Call to InnovationGrantmakers in AgingIntergenerational Strategies Ohio State University's College of Social WorkImplementation of Evidence-Base Practices in Intergenerational Programming: A Scoping ReviewSupport the show


Episode 18: Larry Nisenson on Multigenerational Living and Employee Caregiving

A new study from Generations United, Family Matters: Multigenerational Living Is on the Rise and Here to Stay, finds that the number of Americans living in a multigenerational household with three or more generations has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, with a dramatic increase of 271 percent from 2011 to 2021 (7 percent vs. 26 percent). Our report found that 66 percent of those living in a multigenerational household say the economic climate was a factor in their living arrangement. Among the top reported causes, 34 percent said the need for eldercare was a reason and 34% said childcare was a reason. In this episode—Larry Nisenson, senior vice president and chief commercial officer of Genworth's U.S. Life Insurance Division—joins Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts to discuss his own role as a caregiver to his parents, ways employee caregivers can advocate for resources, and how employers can support employee caregivers. "The best we can do as the advocates for caregivers is try and tell that story and arm the emerging caregiver with all of the tools and help we can provide for them to make that burden as easy as we can." —Larry Nisenson Resources mentioned in the show: • Family Matters: Multigenerational Living Is on the Rise and Here to Stay • GenWorth sites for advocacy: and Support the show


Episode 17: Ms. Genia, Keith Lowhorne, and Ana Beltran on Kinship vs. Guardianship

Across the U.S., more than 2.7 million children are growing up in grandfamilies — families in which grandparents, other adult family members, or close family friends are raising children. Generations United, with support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, created a brief and national comparison chart, Adoption and Guardianship for Children in Kinship Foster Care, which focuses on adoption and guardianship for children in kinship foster care, so that these children can exit foster care into permanent families. In this episode, Ana Beltran, co-director of the National Center on Grandfamilies, is joined by Generations United's GRAND Voice Network Members Ms. Genia LaRese Newkirk and Mr. Keith Lowhorne. Ms. Newkirk took guardianship of her niece, Nadia, after becoming licensed as a foster parent. Ms. Newkirk had never met Nadia before and didn’t know about her. They were not offered North Carolina’s Guardianship Assistance Program because the state limits their program to children age 14 and older, and Nadia is about 8 years old. Mr. Lowhorne, with his wife, adopted three grandchildren from foster care in Alabama: Kayren, about age 7; Kaiser, about age 6; and Harper about age 4. Ms. Newkirk and Mr. Lowhorne talk about the options offered and not offered to them when they decided to keep the children in their lives out of the foster care system. Ana offers resources for families in this situation. Show resources www.grandfamilies.orgSupport the show


Episode 16: Dr. Anita Rogers on How the Intergenerational Field Can Be More Inclusive and Effective in Engaging and Elevating Voices and Initiatives of People of Color

Dr. Anita Rogers has been involved with the delivery of education, civil rights, human services, reentry programming, violence prevention, victim assistance and mental health in various capacities. As a development consultant, she has raised millions of dollars to help nonprofit and government agencies provide services to underserved populations, especially people of color. She now serves as a senior fellow at Generations United Dr. Rogers joined Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts for a discussion on civil rights work, how the activist landscape has changed, and the similarities between Black Power and Black Lives Matter. Resources mentioned in the show: https://gu.orgSupport the show


Episode 15: Rachel Fleischer on Young Invincibles' Advocacy and Opportunities for Connecting Generations as the Biden Administration Helps Communities Build Back from the Impact of the Pandemic

Young Invincibles was founded by a group of students in the summer of 2009, motivated by the recognition that young people’s voices were not being heard in the debate over health care reform. In the years since, the organization expanded from a group run out of a school cafeteria to a national organization with offices across the country. Their Executive Director Rachel Fleischer joined Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts for a discussion on the various priorities and actions Young Invincibles are looking for the Biden administration to take on. This episode also focuses on ways of how the group expresses issues beyond partisanship and emotion, while still conveying their passion. Learn more about The Young Invincibles at Learn more about Generations United at Support the show


Episode 14: Alex Glazebrook (with OATS) and Adrian Sutton (OCTO) on Using Technology to Connect Generations

In this episode, Adrian Sutton, project coordinator for Connect.DC (a program of D.C.'s Office of the Chief Technology Officers), and Alex Glazebrook, director of operations for Older Adults Technology Service (OATS), discuss older adults and technology. They also discussed the role of young people helping elders understand tech. Resources discussed in this episode: Support the show


Episode 13: Robyn Wind-Tiger on the Crises Impacted Native American Grandfamilies

Robyn Wind-Tiger is a member of Generations United's GRAND Voices network, which is a select group of grandparents and other relative caregivers from across the country. Our GRAND members serve as strategic partners to inform policies and practices affecting grandfamilies and help reveal family strengths, needs and service gaps. They provide Guidance and feedback on Generations United’s resources and advocacy on behalf of grandfamilies. In this episode, Robyn discussed with Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Native American families, which are often multigenerational. She also talks about the importance of passing down culture, tradition and information to future generations and how racial inequity impacts those efforts. Donna highlighted a new Generations United resource, American Indian and Alaska Native Grandfamilies: Helping Children Thrive Through Connection to Family and Cultural Identity. It's one of two upcoming Generations United toolkits featuring grandfamilies-related content on the racism, bias and injustice in the juvenile justice system, policing and courts and how it impacts Black and Brown boys, men, their families and those who care about them. Visit after July 22 to access those resources. Support the show


Episode 12: Mark Meridy on the Origin of DOROT and Fighting Social Isolation

For over 40 years, DOROT has been an innovative leader in designing programs that enhance the lives of older adults by helping them build social connections with peers and other generations. In this episode, DOROT's Executive Director Mark Meridy discusses the organization's origin and shares inspirational stories of generations connecting through their work. In this episode, Generations United's Executive Director Donna Butts referenced our report with The Eisner Foundation, I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, The Old, and What We Can Achieve Together, which highlights national examples—like DOROT—that are reuniting the generations and making their communities better places to live. Support the show


Episode 11: John Rother and Evon Yao Discuss #OKBoomer and How Generations Can Reach Across Ages and Differences to Find Common Ground

The conversation in this episode goes back to the roots of Generations United, which was founded over 30 years ago. The purpose, according to one of our founders Jack Ossofsky, was "to argue for a caring society." Over those three decades, the organization has weathered many attempts to spark intergenerational warfare. Fortunately, they've never taken root. In this episode, Generations United's former board chair John Rother, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Healthcare, and Evon Yao, a student at the University of Michigan and former vice president of WeListen*, discuss how people can reach across ages and differences to find common ground. The resources referenced in this episode are below: Out of Many, One: Uniting the Changing Faces of AmericaI Need You, You Need Me: The Young, The Old, and What We Can Achieve Together_____________________________________ * WeListen is a bipartisan student group, working to bridge the political divide through conversations between people with differing political views. Support the show


Episode 10: Ana Beltran and Olivia Chase on Affordable Housing for Grandfamilies

Across the United States, more than 2.65 million children live in grandfamilies — families in which grandparents, other adult family members or close family friends are raising children – with no parents in the home. Frequently, these families come together at a moment’s notice. In an instant, the home of the new grandfamily is inadequate for their suddenly expanded household. A new report from Generations United, A Place to Call Home: Building Affordable Housing for Grandfamilies, found less than one in three eligible grandfamilies receive housing assistance and details the housing challenges these families face. In this episode, Generations United's longtime Special Advisor and the report's author Ana Beltran is joined by Olivia Chase, a Generations United GRAND Voice Network Member. They discuss our new report and the benefits of affordable housing for grandparents and other relative caregivers raising children. Support the show


Episode 9: Trent Stamp on The Eisner Foundation and What Makes An Intergenerational Program Successful

The Eisner Foundation -- started in 1996 by Michael D. Eisner, then-Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and his wife, Jane -- gives an estimated $7 million per year to nonprofit organizations based in Los Angeles County. In 2015, The Foundation became the only U.S. funder investing exclusively in intergenerational solutions. The Eisner Foundation's CEO Trent Stamp discusses the motivation behind The Foundation's funding priorities, what they look for in a site visit, highlights from the Capitol Hill Release of our report, The Best of Both Worlds: A Closer Look at Creating Spaces that Connect Young and Old, and more! Support the show


Episode 8: Erin Hilligan on Ebenezer Ridges, an Intergenerational Shared Site

Twenty years ago, Ebenezer Ridges in Burnsville, MN, offered a skilled nursing facility and an adult day services program. Today, they're an intergenerational shared site with HUD-funded senior housing, an assisted living facility on campus, and a child care center. They're featured in our recent report with The Eisner Foundation, The Best of Both Worlds: A Closer Look at Spaces That Connect Young and Old. Erin Hilligan started out there as an intern 25 years ago. She's now vice president of Operations. She tells our listeners why she came back and shares the story of Ebenezer Ridges' transformation to a space that serves young and old together. Support the show


Episode 7: ZERO TO THREE on Grandparents as Child Care Providers

Grandparents play a critical role in filling the gap as parents struggle to provide the best affordable care for their children. In fact, almost 1 in 4 children under age 5 is cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent. That's according to ZERO TO THREE's new resource, Who's Watching the Kids? The Grand Plan Grandparenting Survey. In this episode, ZERO TO THREE's Rebecca Parlakian (senior director of Programs) and Kathy Kinsner (senior manager of Parent Resources) discuss additional findings from the survey. They're joined by Althea Sachs, a grandparent in the Los Angeles area, who gives a first-hand perspective on providing child care for her 5-year-old grandson, Etan, and an 18-month-old granddaughter. Etan and his mom, Mollie, live with Althea. ZERO TO THREE produced a film or -- what they call "a peek" -- at Grandparent Caregivers. Watch this video to learn more about of Althea, her daughter, and grandson. Support the show


Episode 6: Nancy Henkin on Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing

In this episode, Dr. Nancy Henkin, our senior fellow and a pioneer in the intergenerational field, discusses her mentor Maggie Kuhn, intergenerational programming in senior housing, and getting young people interested in careers in aging. Support the show


Episode 5: Joan Lombardi on What's Going Right for America

In this episode, Dr. Joan Lombardi, a giant in the early education field, discusses the role of community elders being changemakers for children and youth. She also discusses family separation at the border. Support the show


Episode 4: Derenda Schubert on Bridge Meadows

Our conference co-host Bridge Meadows is changing the world by starting in their neighborhood in Portland, OR. They provide safe, stable and supportive communities for youth in foster care, adoptive parents, and elders. Their Executive Director Dr. Derenda Schubert shares the intergenerational collaboration between the youth who experienced foster care and the community of elders that helped create the community at Bridge Meadows. Support the show


Episode 3: Michelle Singletary on Financial Lessons Learned from "Big Mama"

Michelle Singletary often mentions how her "Big Mama" was so great at saving money that it was like breathing to her grandmother. The syndicated Washington Post columnist shares that wisdom with her readers each week. In this episode, Michelle not only discusses how "Big Mama" was able to raise her and four other grandchildren, she also explains that the best things grandparents or other kin can give the kids they're raising are love and security. Support the show