Kupuna & Keiki Together™
An Intergenerational Mentoring Program
Elders experience an in-depth training in Brain Gym®, sensory motor integration, eye exercises, mentoring, learning, and "elder-coaching", and then are paired with children in a one-on-one relationship.
The program aims to unite the strengths of senior citizens and children for improving each other's cognitive skills, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and emotional well-being.
Currently we are serving Maui school children in grades K-2. In 2005 we began a pilot with very young children ages 0--3. We all enjoyed its success, and will continue working with very young children. The elders meet weekly with the children.
The idea of elders using their skills, experience, knowledge, and most of all their love, has deep Hawaiian roots and deep Hawaiian wisdom. In the Hawaiian culture, the elders (kupuna) are honored and respected, and are included in the responsibility of raising the children (keiki). These "folk" practices have a profound significance for contemporary elders.
Tested Outcomes and Benefits include:
For Senior Mentors:
Increased focus, memory, coordination, balance, physical and mental skills
Decreased loneliness, boredom, and depression, while increasing self-esteem
Adding value to lives by providing a meaningful way to enhance their communities
Increased joie de vivre!
Giving Back administered 4 standardized pre and post tests to the children. An independent researcher compiled and evaluated the results:
Independent evaluations show notable findings:
Significant improvement in reading skills
Significant increases in interpersonal strengths
Decreases in all problematic behaviors, and significant decreases in overall problem behaviors, symptoms of ADHD, and hyperactivity
Improvements in overall behavior, self-esteem and emotional well-being
Improvement in academic skills
Other studies show benefits for the children:
Improved family relations
46% of mentored children are less likely to begin using illegal drugs
27% are less likely to begin using alcohol
53% are less likely to skip school.
Children also benefit greatly from the attention and love of their senior mentor.
Teachers, students and seniors are also interviewed and given questionnaires throughout the year, and results are compiled and independently analyzed. Principals and teachers support these findings and heartily endorse the program. Rave reviews from seniors, children and parents confirm the tested results.