The New Horizons Project
The population of the Outer Gulf Islands in British Columbia (Pender, Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna) is aging. There are relatively fewer school-aged children every year, and opportunities for school aged children and senior citizens to interact and form the constructive relationships that infuse and support healthy communities are diminishing.
Schools on the four Southern Gulf Islands are experiencing slow but steady enrolment decline and, as a consequence of that decline, they find it increasingly difficult to offer Fine, Visual and Performing Arts and Applied Skills Programs, particularly in the Middle Years where students aged 12-15 typically experience, in larger schools, “Electives” programming.
We believe the growing population of retirees and semi-retirees on these four islands represents an increasing wealth of experience, knowledge, skills and wisdom that might be utilized to enrich school programming at the Middle Years level. We believe that, by connecting generations in meaningful work where each participant can both offer and be offered something of value, the community can only grow stronger as a result.
This project will provide seniors on Pender Island (the most populated of the four Southern Gulf Islands), but the other islands as well, with an opportunity to enrich the life of the communities generally, and of youth in particular, by transferring awareness of cultural history and traditions. As well, it will promote the concept of lifelong-learning by creating opportunities for meaningful learning and social exchange, in an inter-generational context.
Perhaps most importantly, the project will help to promote an understanding and acceptance of aging on the part of youth and help to dispel the stereotypes and prejudices associated with it. As well, youth will develop a growing awareness of themselves as Southern Gulf Islanders playing a key role, with seniors, in the transmission of cultural norms and values.
Read more: New Horizons Project
Contrary to previous beliefs, adolescence is a period of profound structural change in the brain, rivalling early childhood as a critical period of development.
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