Young & Old Benefit from Intergenerational Program at SpringRidge | Senior Resource Group

Young & Old Benefit from Intergenerational Program at SpringRidge

A study by Stanford University confirmed what SpringRidge at Charbonneau’s Danny Fernando had long known to be true: older adults can play a critical role in the lives of young people. In fact, additional research has found intergenerational activities benefit seniors as well.

The important role each group plays in the other’s lives will be on display later this month during a special graduation ceremony at SpringRidge, where twelfth-graders who work part-time in the onsite restaurant will be honored.

The graduating students have formed a special bond with residents, with many developing a grandparent/grandchild relationship throughout the years.

“It’s such a good feeling to be with SpringRidge residents,” said 18 year old Vanessa Morales. “My mom worked here when she was my age and shared many fond memories.”

Vanessa has worked at the community for almost two years and despite graduating later this month, plans to continue her role as a server in The Charbonneau Room while she attends a local community college.

To show their appreciation for Vanessa and fellow members of the “Class of 2018”, SpringRidge will host a special graduation ceremony. As part of the event, residents will announce the recipients of the 2018 “Graduates Scholarship”.

The tradition of awarding college scholarships to seniors serving in the dining services department began in 1998 when Danny wanted to recruit area high school students.

“I saw a flyer in a supermarket offering an incentive for students who maintained a certain grade point average,” he explained. “I wanted to use that as our model but felt we needed to make it better. The scholarship program was the result of a brainstorming session with our then executive director.”

Danny later reached out to Spring Ridge’s Resident Council, hoping to make the program a community-wide initiative. The Council agreed to take on – and fully fund – the “Graduates Scholarship”. 

Monies for the scholarship are a result of sales at SpringRidge’s onsite gift shop, Le Petit, and through private donations by the community’s residents. The community’s crafters also generously donate proceeds from the sale of their items to the fund as well.

“Residents have wholeheartedly embraced the program,” said Danny. “To date, they have awarded nearly $100,000 in scholarship money.”

Vanessa said she didn’t know about the scholarship when she initially applied but plans to apply.

“It’s so nice of the residents to do this for us,” she said. “They’ve given me great advice on school and life and the scholarship is an additional benefit to working at the community.”

SpringRidge recruits students from approximately 10 local high schools, though most of the student-workers attend Canby and North Marion high schools. The scholarship is open to any graduating senior who enrolls full-time in an accredited two- or four-year institution in the fall of the year in which they graduate. The SpringRidge Scholarship Committee evaluates the applicants in six categories including statement of future educational plans; summary of activities; and an evaluation by their SpringRidge supervisor.

“I, along with residents, derive so much joy when the students return to the community to visit with their children and talk about how much they enjoyed working at SpringRidge or that they were a scholarship recipient,” added Danny. “It’s very heartwarming and the benefits of these intergenerational relationships can’t be underscored enough.” 

Nestled on an impeccable, 10-acre parcel of natural beauty and serenity, SpringRidge at Charbonneau is located in one of Oregon's most desirable master-planned residential communities. The SpringRidge at Charbonneau campus offers a comprehensive menu of lifestyle options including CARF-accredited independent living as well as assisted living and memory care services. For more information or to schedule a personal tour of SpringRidge at Charbonneau, please call 503-446-6250 or visit

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