Since 1908, St. Anne’s has been a refuge for at-risk pregnant young women in Los Angeles. Often arriving in their teens, these women are commonly the victims of abuse, homelessness and poverty, and many have history with foster care and juvenile justice systems.
The Eisner Foundation has partnered with St. Anne’s in the past, and we’re pleased to have them move forward with us into the intergenerational space. Over the next two years, their new Intergenerational Volunteer Program will connect older volunteers to the children of these young mothers—and, they hope, the mothers themselves.
“If not for the assistance from the Eisner Foundation, we would not be able to embark on this exciting new initiative,” said Tony Walker, President & CEO of St. Anne’s. “This grant will help us bring together our older volunteers, the young women we serve and their children. We’re excited to see where this new Intergenerational Volunteer Program takes us.”
Until now, older St. Anne’s volunteers have supported the organization through their Thrift & Gift Shop and other fundraising activities. But Walker wants to give them the opportunity to interact directly with the young families that have benefited from their efforts.
“St. Anne’s is fortunate to have many senior volunteers—we probably have 60 or so over the age of 70! But we hadn’t made the connection between those volunteers and our young women,” he said.
Under this new program, volunteers will assist low-income children aged 0-5 with literacy and development at St. Anne’s six Early Learning Centers, which serve the residents of St. Anne’s as well as other families in the surrounding community. They’ll participate in storytime, lesson-based activities, and even host events for children and their families.
Eventually, Walker wants to get all three generations involved. Because of their personal history, connecting with these young mothers can be challenging. However, he hopes that this approach will soften the ground for new friendships. “When our volunteers connect with their children, there’s a natural segue to mentoring and befriending the young mothers,” he said.
We look forward to watching this new intergenerational program grow. In the meantime, learn more about St. Anne’s and their work on their website.Back to Eisner Journal Directory