The Intergenerational Leadership Institute certificate training program for older adults was first piloted in 2015 with 10 participants from State College, PA and surrounding communities taking part in an 8-module short course on intergenerational programs and practices. Some participants chose to continue through the certification process which includes taking part in a series of monthly “applications seminar” sessions as well as additional training and networking opportunities provided by Penn State and partnering organizations.

Program partners for the ILI - State College, PA chapter include: the Penn State Intergenerational Program (rooted in Penn State Extension), the Penn State Center for Healthy Aging, RSVP - Centre County, OLLI at Penn State (University Park), and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Some chapter highlights:

  • The next ILI short course on Intergenerational Programs and Practices will be held on March 15, 2022 to May 3, 2022 (8 sessions)
  • On June 1, 2019: The ILI partnered with the State College Friends School to host an Intergenerational Friends Fair. The day-long event featured interactive exhibits and events planned by local organizations working to expand opportunities for intergenerational communication, learning and living throughout the State College area. To see a video of the event, click here. And for those who would like to run Intergenerational Friends Fair event's in their communities, here is a link to the IFF Facilitator's Guide created by event organizers.
  • On Oct. 11, 2018: The ILI sponsored a daylong INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMMING RETREAT, entitled, "Intergenerational Ideas for Enriching Quality of Life in Centre County." The Retreat was held at the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center (State College, PA), with 48 administrators, staff, and volunteers affiliated with local community organizations in attendance. Click here for a 10-minute video with some highlights from the Retreat.
  • A group of ILI participants attended the 2017 Generations United International Conference in Milwaukee, WI where they presented their ILI-inspired projects. They also participated in site visits to model intergenerational sites in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Ohio (where they visited The Intergenerational School founded by Peter and Cathy Whitehouse), and Ligonier, PA (where they visited the Grandparent Games sponsored by Bethlen Communities and the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center).
  • On Sept. 22, 2017, nine ILI participants "graduated" and joined the ranks of "ILI Fellows." To gain a sense of what ILI participants can accomplish by the time they graduate, here is a link to the press release for this ILI graduation event.
  • ILI-inspired projects that were highlighted at the ILI graduation ceremony include the following:

-- SAVOR (Sharing And Valuing Our Relationships): State College Meals on Wheels clients (primarily isolated older adults) and Penn State students come together for regularly planned meals, fellowship and activities based on common recreational interests.


Penn State Students and Meals on Wheels clients get to know each other during SAVOR events.

-- Weaving Wisdom uses the arts to provide a framework for planning activities, school curricula, and interactive exhibits that promote intergenerational and intercultural understanding in diverse cultural contexts, including in West Africa and the U.S.

Families weaving bracelets together at Schlow Library in State College, PA

Families weaving bracelets together at Schlow Library in State College, PA

-- Wholesome Fare for All Ages: Fun family activities, each with a health and wellness theme.


Sitting down together after cooking the meal with Elaine Meder-Wilgus, owner and manager of Webster's Book Store and Café. One goal of the "Food that's Real for the Family Meal" event was to provide an opportunity for families to learn about, prepare and enjoy healthy foods together.

-- Intergenerational Pen Pal Program enhancement: Program assessment and strategic planning for this program run by RSVP-Centre County.

What these ILI-inspired projects have in common is that they build learning opportunities and meaningful relationships across generations. The ILI functions as a low cost strategy for seeding intergenerational programming leadership at the local level as exemplified in these and other projects implemented in Centre County, PA.

When is the next intergenerational studies class offered for new ILI participants? The last ILI short course was held April 19 to May 28, 2019, on eight consecutive Tuesday afternoons (2:00-4:00). [Location: Penn State Center for Healthy Aging, Biobehavioral Health Bldg., 4th floor conference room.] Stay tuned for the next one.

Contact Us

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging

Contact Us

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging