Dwight Moseley of Parkinson School??and Melissa Forde of St. Ursula’s School??reciting the GENLINK Motto with??Cynthia Bowen, a member of the Geriatric Hospital’s Day Care programme. (J. Gill/BGIS)

GENLINK, the programme which was originally started in 2005 to strengthen relations between the elderly and the youth, was lauded today during its re-launch at Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John, in addressing the ceremony, expressed the view that the joint Geriatric Hospital and Garrison Secondary School initiative was not only an excellent idea but an important one in promoting communication and providing an opportunity for contact, thus bridging these gaps."

Reminding those gathered of the instability worldwide, Dr. St. John said: "We are witnessing community unrest and war all around the world, Barbados has been a stable [and] peaceful community. This is the ideal opportunity for our older generation to teach our youth how to keep Barbados positively peaceful."

Lamenting, however, that many times adults and youth found themselves in conflict, she added: "The generation Gap, as we call it, is wider than ever before. Unfortunately, a huge disconnect can exist between them, something that wasn’t the case in days gone by in Barbados."

The CMO, therefore, expressed the hope that the programme would be expanded to encompass not only the Geriatric and District Hospitals, but the wider community.

"Many of our elderly live alone and have become isolated from their families and communities in which they live. This expanded programme would provide us with a structured approach to reintroducing the old time Barbadian approach to socialising its citizens," she stressed.

The benefits for the elderly and the youth were also underscored by Dr. St. John, who declared that the former would become more involved in the community, develop caring relationships with the youth, experience relief from depression and isolation and be able to validate their lives by teaching future generations the good things from their past eras.

On the other hand, she maintained the youth would, among others, benefit through exercising community responsibility and good citizenship, improvement in confidence and self esteem and breaking down stereotypes and myths about elders.

GENLINK was expanded last month to include five other secondary schools and five primary schools. They are Parkinson Memorial School, The St. Michael School, Seventh Day Adventist School, The Ursuline Convent and Harrison College. The primary schools are St. Paul’s Primary School, The People’s Cathedral Primary School, Bay Primary School, George Lamming Primary School and The Seventh Day Adventist School.


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