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WHATAn inter-generational program that places older adult volunteers into kindergarten through third grade elementary school classrooms to help students improve reading and math skills.
WHY To improve academic and behavioral outcomes for children while offering health benefits and volunteer and engagement opportunities for older adults at-risk of social isolation.
Department of Medicine Department of Geriatrics.
L.A. Unified School District.
Los Angeles Urban League. Los Angeles, California, USA.

Program Description

"California is having a long-time teacher shortage, ranking dead last nationally in student-to-teacher ratios. In South Los Angeles, The Generation Xchange program tries to bring retired volunteers to elementary school classrooms so as to assist teachers and inspire students. Their experiment turned out to be a win-win for both the young scholars and the older adults.”

“Studies have shown that mentored youth are 52% more likely to stay in school and also complete more homework assignments than youth without mentors.”

“On average 40% of youth attending schools in our target area are in foster care or kinship care and need positive adult role models.”


Placing older adult, retired volunteers in elementary school classrooms can assist overworked teachers and help students excel in math and reading.

The presence of older adults may help to inspire students and provide a connection to a generation that they may not otherwise have access to.

The intergenerational learning program promotes health and well-being of older adult volunteers by being around children, and participating in a structured program that provides social, physical, and cognitive activities.

The Generation Xchange Program has shown the following positive outcomes:

For Children:

• 60 percent decrease in office referrals
• Increased levels of classroom engagement and time on task
• Decreased rates of absenteeism and tardiness
• Greater reading proficiency reported by teachers

For Older Adult Volunteers:

• Combined weight loss of more than 100 pounds
• Improved mobility and stamina
• Increased social interaction
• 50 percent have increased their number of exercise days by a minimum of one day
• 75 percent have increased their daily activity level by 20-40 percent
• 60 percent have increased their intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
• 20 percent report feeling happier and more satisfied as a result of their participation in the program


Aging Programs
Senior Contributions Programs
Intergenerational Programs
Intergenerational Social Activities




Find out more about UCLA Health Generation Xchange

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