Bessie’s Hope: School-to-Career Work Force Development

Bessie’s Hope, recipient of two national awards for excellence in intergenerational work, is launching a unique initiative this fall: School-to-Career Work Force Development cultivated for Long Term Care and work with Geriatrics.

The most important “ingredients” for an elder care facility care provider to embody are compassion, respect and empathy. The youth who participate with Bessie’s Hope receive our education and training prior to their first visit with the elders. Their perception toward aging people and the elders in the care facilities are dramatically altered after experiencing both the training and the interaction with the elders. Rather than seeing older adults as worn out and ready for discarding, they now see them as interesting and fun and deserving of the youths’ time and attention. They see the elders as resources of vast knowledge and wisdom and enjoy listening to their stories that bring history to life. The “ongoing” youth groups have the opportunity to cultivate mutually rewarding and life-enriching relationships with the elders. Because of our education, the youth are able to have meaningful interaction with elders of all levels of cognitive functioning, including advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. They understand that these elders deserve our patience and our respect. Just as the elders who can tell their stories, those who cannot share in this way also have interesting pasts and wonderful stories that are now locked away inside. For these elders, the youth are prepared to provide their caring presence and loving touch.

For 24 years, the work of Bessie’s Hope has been a service that erodes ageism that is so deeply entrenched in our culture, and from inception, Bessie’s Hope has been an agent for culture change within long term care. On the other end of the age spectrum, the youth have experienced and internalized compassion and empathy. According to the leading experts on bullying in America, youth who possess these character traits cannot bully, and bullies who have the opportunity to experience and feel compassion and empathy stop bullying.

Now, with our School-to-Career Work Force Development initiative cultivated for long term care and work with the geriatric population at large, the Bessie’s Hope youth can investigate the plethora of jobs and careers relative to this initiative. We received a grant from “Next50 Initiative” for this addition to our Youth and Elder Program, and we are partnering with the CU Medical School, Anschutz Medical Center, Geriatric Division. (See accompanying Process document)

Upcoming Event to provide support for Bessie’s Hope:
Saturday, November 10, 15th annual Bowl-a-Rama – Please see Flyer

Bessi’s Hope School-To-Career Work Force Development

Cultivation for Geratrics and Long Term Care

  • High School Age Volunteers
  • Youth eligible after attending Bessie’s Hope education/training session and three Bessie’s Hope elder care visits
  • Bessie’s Hope elder care partner provides 1-hr presentation by staff and contract professionals to youth

    Bessie’s Hope provides materials for youth

  • Youth shadow selected elder care staff person or contract professional
  • Youth given the opportunity to tour and explore jobs/professions at CU Medical School Geriatric Division, Anschutz Medical Center
  • Youth compose essay, one – two pages, describing their reasons for working in geriatrics and/or long term care
  • Bessie’s Hope provides Certificate of Completion
  •  Elder care partners and CU Geriatric Division may offer internship, volunteer position or paid position to participating youth