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Overview of the ILI

The ILI (Intergenerational Leadership Institute) is a certificate-training program developed by Penn State University in 2015 for older adults (primary target audience is 55+) seeking new lifelong learning experiences, skills, and volunteer opportunities to contribute to innovation and change in their communities.

Overview: The ILI program has three sets of objectives: lifelong learning, meaningful civic engagement, and new intergenerational program development (or enhancement).

A distinctive feature of the ILI is that it functions as an incubator for creating and sustaining new intergenerational programs at the local level. This yearlong program is designed to build participants' intergenerational programming skills, extend their leadership skills and provide them with opportunities to translate their intervention ideas into concrete plans, programs, and campaigns.

The ILI is an initiative of the Penn State Intergenerational Program (PSIP), a research and resource center rooted in Penn State Extension that draws upon a broad base of scholars and practitioners--local, national, and international.

The first two ILI chapters were established in State College, PA and in Montgomery County, MD. We are in the process of ramping up efforts to expand the program beyond these two sites. Along these lines, we conducted a train-the-trainer session at Penn State University (October 25-26, 2017) for professionals interested in establishing ILI chapters in their localities; 19 participants attended. We plan to hold at least one such workshop a year.

Anticipated outcomes for each ILI chapter:

  • ILI participants will gain practical intergenerational programming skills, experience personal growth, and display increased efficacy as community change agents.
  • ILI program instructors, coordinators, and program collaborators will learn new strategies for recruiting, training, and engaging older adult volunteers as lifelong learners, leaders, and intergenerational program organizers. Each new ILI chapter receives an ILI replication manual, technical assistance for intergenerational program development, and access to a support network of professionals from universities and organizations that host ILI chapters.
  • In terms of community impact, the 2-3+ ILI-inspired projects established at each site will be designed to meet priority local needs, e.g., increasing public students’ academic skills and grades, organizing events and activities that contribute to cross-cultural understanding and acceptance, and protecting/ preserving sites with fragile ecosystems.