There’s a new movement underfoot in the UK, with plans for a US outpost in the works. In this post, Senior Planet tells us all about The Amazings, a “reverse-model of your typical social service organization.” Instead of simply serving seniors, the venture harnesses their strengths and talents as a means to help others and simultaneously, themselves.
According to the Senior Planet post, The Amazings “gives the retired and almost-retired an opportunity to package their skills and knowledge into classes for anyone who wants a quick, cheap, informal learning experience. The Amazings website serves as an online marketplace for the classes, as well as a community hub for teachers and students.”
What a fabulous concept. I can’t wait to see it replicated all over the country and the world. If my grandfather, a skilled carpenter and master woodworker, were still alive, I’d push him to participate. If the program comes to the East Coast, I’d sign my grandmother up. She knits and crochets enough blankets, hats, headbands, and scarves to fill an etsy shop, and if you give her a magazine tear-out of a stylish new headband you want, she’ll replicate it stitch by stitch. Of course, I can take advantage of her teaching anytime, formal program or not, and I often do. But for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have grandparents or “grandfriends” nearby, The Amazings fills an important creative generation gap.
What kind of teachers are out there? It’s not just about the creative arts, although there are plenty of dancers, potters, crafters, photographers and illustrators. There’s a kiltmaker who is also a bookbinder. There’s a corset maker, a journalist. Need a yoga teacher, therapist, vocal coach or “money man?” How about a philosopher, drummer or hairdresser? All of these senior experts (you can view their profiles here), diverse as their skills may be, have this in common: they want to connect with the younger generation, to teach them — and probably learn from them too. I’d say that’s a pretty good mission.
Your turn: Do/did you ever have a senior mentor? What did they teach you?