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older adult and student musicians

Intergenerational Connections

Bringing Generations Together

Young and old, mentors and students, children and “grandfriends” – there is so much we can learn from friendships that span generations. Kendal creates opportunities for intergenerational activities every day. Resident life is enriched by the presence of young children from the Kendal Early Learning Center. Friendships grow with high school-age staff that work in the dining rooms. And Oberlin College students are frequent volunteers.


Oberlin Recognized as Top Intergenerational Community

In 2012, the city of Oberlin was recognized as one of the nation’s top intergenerational communities by Generations United (GU) and the MetLife Foundation. In 2013, Kendal at Oberlin accepted a Shared Site award from GU for its exemplary programs that bring older adults together with young people and children. Kendal at Oberlin was recertified by GU as a “Program of Distinction” for another 3-year period in November of 2017.

Video: Intergenerational Living at Kendal at Oberlin

Resident reading to young children

Kendal at Oberlin Brings Generations Together

The Kendal Early Learning Center is a top-quality accredited early childhood program that works with children age 3 years to 1st grade. Children of staff have priority consideration for admission, but there are frequently openings for children from the greater community. Residents, also called “grandfriends,” can volunteer with the children, reading or engaging in planned activities. The children participate in structured activities with residents of the Stephens Care Center too.

The Kendal Early Learning Center was the first in Lorain County to receive a “Five Star award” in Ohio’s Step Up to Quality program, administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Education. This is the highest possible ranking in the system.

Oberlin College students volunteer in many ways. Volunteer coordinator Michele Tarsitano-Amato works with students interested in art therapy and music therapy. Kendal also serves as a work-study site for students from the college. And recently, Kendal began a program where Oberlin College students can reside in a house owned by Kendal at Oberlin, and volunteer at the community in exchange for room and board fees.


students with staff teacher

You’ll also see student interns from the Lorain County Community College or the local joint vocational school.

 Area high school students work in Kendal dining rooms. It’s always delightful when the whole community celebrates the graduation of high school-age staff, or when they visit Kendal on prom night, wearing their elegant evening apparel. 

Through planned efforts to engage people of all ages, Kendal is “Together, transforming the experience of aging.®”

Young or Old, Big or Small


Intergenerational programs are good for all!

Learn more about the benefits of bringing generations together.