Weaver Wins Peabody Award

March 31, 2014

Andrea WeaverAndrea J. Fonte Weaver, Founder and Executive Director of Bridges Together Inc., received the Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Award during Wheelock's recent Alumni Symposium.

One of the biggest issues for the 21st century is the changing demographic structure of most nations. By 2050, in many countries including the United States, there will be more adults over the age of 65 than children under the age of 15.  Andrea Weaver of Sudbury, MA, who earned her Master's Degree in Intergenerational Studies from Wheelock College, Boston MA (class of 1994) and a Bachelor's Degree in sociology with a gerontology certificate from College of the Holy Cross, is helping society to prepare for this change through her organization Bridges Together Inc. Bridges Together Inc., a not-for-profit, charitable organization, is dedicated to educating people engaged in intergenerational work and developing innovative and effective intergenerational programs that they can use.

And to recognize her work exemplifying Wheelock College's mission "to improve the quality of life for children and families, Weaver was given the Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Award at the Wheelock Alumni Symposium on Saturday, March 22. Elizabeth Palmer Peabody is best known as a teacher and educational reformer, and more specifically as the mother of kindergarten in America. Weaver's work reflects Peabody's commitment to diversity and education, and the values of Wheelock.

During the Symposium, Weaver led an engaging workshop titled: "From Nice to Necessary:  Why We Need Intergenerational Programs and How To Build Effective Ones"  that examined some of the societal and demographic changes that have created the need for such programs and will aid participants in planning ways to initiate or grow a program in their own communities.

Weaver credits Wheelock College for "giving me the framework of theory to provide a structure for my work. Learning about the development of the whole person who has multiple intelligences was critical to my success in expanding Bridges Together."

Strong intergenerational programs provide opportunities for adults and children in skipped‐generations to engage with one another through shared experiences. These programs are built upon an understanding of human development, multiple intelligences and socio‐emotional development theories. Importantly, they also integrate best practices of educational pedagogies, volunteer management, and intergenerational programming.

Weaver developed the Bridges program as part of her undergraduate studies in gerontology and sociology at College of the Holy Cross. During her tenure as an intergenerational specialist at the Sudbury Senior Center, she designed, implemented and evaluated a wide-variety of intergenerational programs in Sudbury, Massachusetts including Bridges Together. Based on the requests of students, parents, and seniors, the Sudbury Council on Aging and Sudbury Public Schools implemented the program in all 4th grade classrooms starting in 2000. Weaver worked with a curriculum specialist to ensure that Bridges met the state educational standards for fourth grade.

For more information about Bridges Together, please visit the Bridges Together homepage here.

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