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Bridging the Generational Divide

May 05, 2022
Sam Jarvis photographed by a window

Human Services major Samuel “Sam” Jarvis ’23 came to York College of Pennsylvania as a transfer student in the fall of 2021. His desire to connect older and younger generations led him to work in gerontology.

There’s a lot to learn from each other no matter our age. Older generations can learn some newer tricks from younger generations, while the young crowd can learn a thing or two from the wisdom older adults have to offer.

Human Services major Samuel “Sam” Jarvis ’23 has wanted to work with older adults since he was 13. He’s especially interested in interacting with those living with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

“I was drawn to working in the gerontology field because I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of older adults,” he says.

Making connections

The Human Services program at York College of Pennsylvania is what drew him to transfer in fall 2021. “I had done a lot of research and felt that York College would help meet my educational needs and provide me with the necessary experience to succeed in the Human Services field,” says Sam.

Though still new to the program, he’s had a lot of experience already through his classes that will set the foundation for his future work in gerontology. Through a career development course, he’s had the opportunity to participate in a mock interview with a local nursing community. “This experience helped me to improve my interview skills,” he says. “I am thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had thus far at York College and am looking forward to many more opportunities in the future.”

In a Grant Writing course, Sam has learned how to write a grant specifically for nonprofits. “This skill can help me fund new project ideas to benefit older adults,” he says.

Joining intergenerational hands

Traditionally marked on the first Saturday of May, Join Hands Day was created to not only promote volunteer opportunities with older generations, but also to strengthen intergenerational relationships.

Through his experience working with older adults, Sam has learned a great deal about gerontology and the benefits of generations working together. “The information I have learned has been beneficial to my career and provided me with the necessary tools to do my job well,” he says. 

“One thing I have learned about myself while working with older adults is to slow down. It is important to slow down and spend time getting to know all of the people I get to work with. This helps me build a rapport with individuals and to provide them with excellent quality of care.”

Sam firmly believes, “In this ever-changing world, both generations provide each other with many lessons.” He is convinced there is a joy created between two generations coming together. 

“Intergenerational programming is very important for both generations,” he says. “Each generation looks forward to spending time with each other and learning from one another.” He’s always looked forward to getting to know the older adults who he gets to work with.

Looking to the future, Sam hopes to continue broadening his work in long-term care settings. “I am currently a Certified Director of Activities in the long-term care setting and plan to obtain my Personal Care Home Administrator license,” he says. “I am hopeful to guide other individuals who work with older adults and provide them with insight.”