Augustana Open Circle’s Academic program began in 2011 with two students and two colleges. Today, Open Circle’s academic outreach program has hosted more than 250 students and worked with 13 different colleges! How did this kind of growth occur, exactly? Initially, Open Circle needed more people to provide a personal touch for the increasing population of older adults they serve. Students also benefitted as most of their schools required reporting hours, reviews, check-ins, and more.
Students soon found that they could utilize their energy, develop job skills and make valuable connections with older adults and faculty through the program.
Some of Augustana Open Circle’s employees began as interns. The program has been valued by students and Open Circle, and has grown tremendously within the last five years. Students have gained significant experience and connections and Open Circle received intergenerational connections with young people who are deeply connected to older adults. It’s Open Circle’s desire that this innovative program will be imitated in other adult day and assisted living communities. The value exchanged between students and Open Circle is something well worth spreading.