On June 4, the MIT AgeLab, in partnership with AARP, presented the third annual OMEGA scholarship awards to three accomplished young adults from the Boston area. Caroline Collins-Pisano of Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts; Marley Belanger of Dedham High School in Dedham, Massachusetts; and Rachel Schultze of Natick High School in Natick, Massachusetts, were each awarded a 2018 OMEGA Scholarship. OMEGA Scholarships recognize young people who are leading efforts in their schools to foster intergenerational connections within their communities.
All three winners are leaders in school organizations that promote social connectivity between older adults and youth. Collins-Pisano is a founder of the Golden Dawgs, which uses technology such as therapeutic robotic animals to help prevent social isolation among older adults. Collins-Pisano will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall. Belanger is the coordinator of the Dedham High School Multigenerational Program, which hosts group art projects, technical support sessions, one-on-one visits, and other events at Newbridge on the Charles. Belanger will be attending Suffolk University in the fall. Schultze is a founding member of Sages and Seekers at Natick High School, which organizes eight-week programs matching older adults with students for one-on-one intergenerational conversations to combat social isolation and age-related segregation. Rachel will be attending Connecticut College in the fall.
The OMEGA awards were presented at the MIT AgeLab before the recipients’ families and teachers, members of the MIT AgeLab’s Lifestyle Leaders Panel, Michael Festa, the director of AARP Massachusetts, AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin, and AgeLab researchers. The OMEGA scholarships will provide $1,000 toward each recipient’s college tuition and an additional $1,000 to each recipient’s school to continue their outstanding intergenerational efforts.
OMEGA, which stands for Opportunities for Multigenerational Engagement, Growth, and Action, was developed to support the development and growth of student programs and clubs that connect high school students with older adults. The MIT AgeLab is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and non-governmental organizations to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them.