MIT AgeLab’s OMEGA Program and Five Star Senior Living Award $5,000 Scholarships to Five High School Students for Work with Older Adults
The MIT AgeLab presented the fifth annual OMEGA scholarship awards to five accomplished young adults on Aug. 28. The OMEGA scholarships recognize young people who are leading efforts in their schools and communities to foster intergenerational connections. This year, through the generous sponsorship of Five Star Senior Living, the number of $5,000 scholarships awarded reached beyond New England and increased from one to five. The 2020 OMEGA scholarship winners are:
- Andrew Barry and Finn Harrington, Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, Massachusetts
- Benjamin Burns, Winchester High School, Winchester, Massachusetts
- Olivier Mastey, The Leffell School, Hartsdale, New York
- Russell Yang, The Harker School, San Jose, California
The five winners are founders and/or leaders of programs or nonprofit organizations that leverage the experience and wisdom of older adults while also meeting their needs and providing social connections across generations. The students were able to rapidly innovate within their initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that began in the spring of 2020.
About our winners
Barry and Harrington lead an ongoing Noble and Greenough School program called the Golden Dawgs, which connects students with local older adults through activities on the school campus, such as painting, theatre and lectures. The Golden Dawgs program was started by Caroline Collins-Pisano, a former AgeLab summer intern and previous OMEGA Scholarship recipient. When COVID-19 struck, Barry and Harrington established a pen pal and friendly calling program pairing student volunteers with Golden Dawgs to help alleviate some of the loneliness brought on by the pandemic.
Burns started his initiative in March 2020 in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GenLynk is an organization dedicated to bridging the intergenerational communication gap by connecting senior citizens with community volunteers through modern forms of communication. GenLynk is currently recruiting interested participants and volunteers in the Boston area.
Mastey supported an intergenerational chess program offered through DOROT. Participants meet weekly to play chess, engage in conversation and storytelling, and create meaningful connections. When it became clear that COVID-19 would render onsite chess play impossible, Mastey took the program virtual, coordinating the transition to online chess play and providing technical assistance to participants.