About Us

   

WHAT

A friendly, safe space for teenage and elder poets to publish poems and find resources.

WHY

Poetry offers many rewards.  The annual contest offers for each track (Teen Track and Elders Track) first prizes of $100, second prizes of $50, third prizes of $25, and seven Honorable Mention prizes of $10 each. Poetry is the voice of the soul.  Through poetry teenagers and elders can exchange information about the life span in relation to aging, examine their beliefs about aging and their role in their own aging.   Poetry can connect generations and for both teenagers and elders, sharing poetry can expand their “known” worlds. 

WHO

Teenage and elder poets and those who guide or share their lives are especially invited to register and participate.

SAFE 

Web site content is monitored.  Destructive or inappropriate postings are returned to the sender.

ORGANIZATION

This program was created and is maintained by a partnership of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Department of Gerontology and Goodrich Scholarship Program with public and private schools connected by the UNO Advanced Placement Program and Service Learning Academy, the Omaha Public Libraries, and the philanthropic Bright Futures initiative for disadvantaged urban youth.  The program is managed by student members of the university chapter of Sigma Phi Omega, the national gerontology academic honor society and the Sigma Phi Omega faculty advisor with the help of volunteers from the Omaha Public Libraries.

HISTORY

This poetry program was launched in 2009 as a contest with two “tracks” - one for elders, another for teenagers.  Each track required two poems to enter, and each was judged separately; winners in each track receive parallel but separate prizes.   For all entrants, the first poem addressed “the experience of being a teenager” and the second “the experience of being older than 60”.   Winning poems were read and prizes awarded at a special double session conducted on October 18, 2009 as part of the Aging with Passion and Purpose Conference on Aging at UNO.  Readings were followed by a facilitated intergenerational dialogue about poetry. The winning poems from both the Teen and Elder Contest Tracks are posted on this web site.   Following the conference, the “Poets Place” website was established to publish poems, and provide links to resources.  The Intergenerational Poetry Contest has been held again in subsequent years using the same format.  A special event is held to hear readings of winning poems and to provide the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue about poetry and poems.  In addition, all contest entrants are invited to participate in a separate intergenerational Poetry Slam event.   This program is intended to provide a good vehicle for each generation to “pay forward” life span insights and understanding, and mitigate the alienating effects of ageism and isolation. 

OPPORTUNITY

Transfer of culture from old to young provides an opportunity for youth to learn about cultural activities and positive behaviors that have promoted good health and success of a previous generation.  This opportunity to understand their cultural “roots” can strengthen esteem for self and family, and add knowledge and skills directly relevant to promotion of success and improvement of quality of life.  Strengthening esteem for the self and the family is vital to improving health and safety of urban youth, and for minority youth most of all.
Lyn Holley, PhD, Instructor, Working with Minority Elders course 

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING

  • Location of self in a Life Course Perspective for students and older adults
  • Increased understanding of the perspective and circumstances and potential of another generation
  • Familiarity with UNO as a resource for fun, learning and innovation

INCREASED RESOURCES FOR LEARNING

  • Institutionalize intergenerational sharing of poetry as a lifespan teaching approach – in UNO and in middle and high schools
  • Embed in the community culture the intergenerational sharing of poetry as a bridge to understanding between generations
  • Expand dimensions of community service and engagement offered through UNO

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