Intergenerational Internship Initiative
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Intergenerational Internship Initiative

Overview/Program Details

Christian Brothers University's Intergenerational Internship Initiative will place six undergraduate students (three in the fall 2018 semester and three in the spring 2019 semester) at three different area nonprofit organizations that serve the community’s older adult population in various ways. Each internship will be built around a defined site project that focuses on a specific need of older adults, representing an experience that focuses on hunger, income generation, or social isolation.

The three participating nonprofit sites include: Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Memphis, The Works, Inc., and the Shelby County Vocational Rehabilitation Services (SRVS). Each site will host one CBU undergraduate student for 10 hours per week during a 16-week semester. Interns will work on a defined project that directly impacts the nonprofit's client population of low-income older adults.  Fall internships will begin on August 20; Spring internships will begin on January 7.

Students will work 10 hours per week at $10.00 per hour for 160 hours per semester. Interns will be required to conduct bi-weekly reflection meetings with the Director of Career Services in order to assess successful completion of learning objectives, as well as to obtain assistance in resume development and career clarification. At the end of each semester, the Interns will make a public presentation to the CBU and Memphis communities on their project results and learning outcomes.

Project/Site Details

1) Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Memphis.  (ADS) offers a resource of community-based support for families that can prevent, divert, or delay the need for institutionalized care and its associated financial and emotional costs. ADS is a local non-profit organization established in January 1983 for the purpose of operating a therapeutic activity day program for persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, ADS operates two dementia-specific adult day centers that provide assistance to “Friends” and their families and caregivers. These two facilities serve an estimated 100 clients daily.

Proposed Internship Project (Fall 2018): Program Assistant for Music and Memory

The Music and Memory program was established by a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in the summer of 2014 and has since grown into a national initiative. The Alzheimer's Association now certifies other agencies to present the program and to purchase the equipment necessary to implement the initiative. The program highlights and utilizes the power of music to create positive experiences for people with Alzheimer’s. Program staff meet with individuals and their family member or caregiver to learn about special music and music preferences in order to create individual playlists, which will then be transferred to an iPod for individual use.

The Program Assistant for Music and Memory will:

  • Interact directly with ADS clients in order to decrease social isolation.
  • Learn how to communicate and be comfortable with persons with dementia
  • Learn how music helps with memory and certain behaviors
  • Assist in developing and implementing a Music and Memory program that can be followed each year at both Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Memphis centers

The ideal student candidate will have good communication in English, both written and oral; will demonstrate patience with the Friends (clients); and will demonstrate knowledge of or willingness to learn about how different styles of music can help persons with dementia.

Proposed Internship Project (Spring 2019): Gardening & Growing/Cooking Program Intern

Based on anecdotal data and experience over many years, the Memphis community has a need for the spouse caregivers of people with Alzheimer's to be provided with culinary education. In many cases, the spouse who developed Alzheimer's previously did all the cooking for the household. Because husband caregivers often do not want to admit they need a support group, an educational cooking course can also serve as a de facto support group for men. CBU’s student intern will spend one half of his or her time in the Spring 2019 semester working with ADS staff and other stakeholders to develop a six-to-eight week Men’s Cooking Class for spouse caregivers of ADS Friends. The intern will help develop a curriculum that can be followed each year at both centers.

With his or her remaining time, the intern will help develop a Gardening & Growing project for ADS. The project is based on research conducted by Marianne Soderstrom, Chief Occupational Therapist, Danderyds Hospital, Danderyd, Sweden, who states, “Being outside in a garden stimulates all your senses. [...] Gardening helps you use your physical, intellectual and psychological qualities in a natural way. It can even have social benefits if you work together in a group." The Intern will assist in the garden with the ADS clients, stimulating social interaction and the development of life tasks that build the self-esteem of a person with dementia. Any yield from the garden will be used in the Men's Cooking Class.

The Intern’s specific duties for this initiative will include:

  • Collect recipes that are easy and nutritious
  • Facilitate the cooking class and support group for male spouse caregivers
  • Develop a horticulture program for the ADS Friends that can be followed each year at both centers, identifying specific vegetables to grow, as well as developing a timeline for the gardening project 
  • Assist the ADS Friends in planting, taking care of, and enjoying the gardens at both centers

The ideal student candidate will have good communication in English, both written and oral; will demonstrate patience with the Friends; will demonstrate knowledge of or willingness to learn about good nutrition and basic cooking skills; will demonstrate knowledge of or willingness to learn gardening, including how to attract birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc.; soil composition; garden maintenance; and more.

(2) The Works, Inc.  A nonprofit community development corporation serving South Memphis, Tennessee and the Greater Memphis area. It is dedicated to the holistic renaissance of our community through the provision of services in areas of housing, economic development, education, and advocacy.  Programs offered by The Works include rental housing opportunities, sponsorship of a charter school, food and cooking education, mortgage services for first-time homebuyers, and more.

Proposed Internship Project (Fall 2018/Spring 2019): Grocery Marketing Strategist Intern

The Works operates The Grocer at South Memphis Farmers Market, a year-round neighborhood grocery store serving the needs of the South Memphis community. The Grocer grew out of the South Memphis Farmers Market, opening in 2014 to expand upon the food access provided at the seasonal Farmers Market. In the store, one can buy produce from local farmers throughout the week, as well as other locally produced items such as jellies and honey, in addition to common household supplies and food staples. The Grocer also houses the kitchen classroom that The Works uses for cooking instruction.

CBU’s undergraduate Intern will work with the Manager of the Grocer to set and implement strategy for the market. The students will interview area seniors, asking questions about what motivated them to attend Works programming and what will keep them engaged. The Intern will also work with seniors in effort to document their experiences and develop marketing and medical relations tools to promote the program to this targeted group. Specific duties include:

  • Work with the Manager for the Grocer in researching potential expansion of customers served by the grocery store
  • Learn and implement processes and best practices behind retail data collection
  • Learn and implement assessment and the implementation of appropriate strategies to increase market capture, especially among area seniors
  • Consult directly with area residents, particularly elderly residents, who have day-to-day challenges acquiring wholesome and nutritious meals

The ideal student candidate will have sufficient communication skills and be capable of communicating with a diverse population. The Intern must be creative and be capable of presenting new ways to attract seniors and develop ideas that address barriers to accessing food.

(3) Shelby County Vocational & Rehabilitation Services (SRVS)  SRVS is the largest provider of services for individuals with disabilities in West Tennessee, supporting more than 1,000 individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. Established in 1962, SRVS offers the most comprehensive disabilities services solutions in West Tennessee under one roof. Services include residential, employment, clinical, and learning center services, as well as children's services and elder and adult care. SRVS offers a cost-effective alternative to institutional care.

Proposed Internship Project (Fall 2018/Spring 2019): Income Generation Intern

Financial management/tax preparation is increasingly important for older adults, directly impacting their quality of life and even their health. Resources in these constructs of literacy tend to separate financial concerns from health concerns, although the skills and decision-making involve overlap, as financial issues impact healthcare choices. Over the course of a semester, CBU's student Intern will work with SRVS staff to develop and implement a financial literacy course for SRVS's elderly client base. Specific duties include:

  • Develop a financial management and tax preparation curriculum for older adults
  • Facilitate these classes with a selected group of SRVS clients
  • Work directly with the low-income elderly population to assist with financial management and tax preparation needs


To apply, sign in to your CareerLinx account; reference position #9762 and follow the instructions.

Deadline to apply is July 27, 2018.