Listen to Children is an innovative inter-generational prevention and enrichment program for school age children in Livingston’s Elementary and Middle Schools. The program pairs a warm and accepting senior citizen volunteer from the community with students referred to the program. This year marks the seventh anniversary of the successful delivery of Listen to Children in Livingston.
In the spring of 1995 the Listen to Children program was launched in Hillside School, serving 12 students. Through the support of the Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee, the United Way of North Essex, the Mental Health Association of Essex County, and the Livingston Board of Education the program now serves over 50 students and operates in all six of Livingston’s elementary schools, as well as, both middle schools.
What makes this program so successful is the unique connectivity of the generations. The program plants seeds of hope for our future through our children, while incorporating the wisdom of Listeners through reflecting on their past. Listen to Children connects Livingston’s most valuable community assets.
Community volunteers, over the age of 50, undergo a criminal background check and introductory Active Listening training before being assigned to their students. Any school age child can be referred by parents, teachers, or school staff for a number of reasons that may range from being victims of bullying or teasing, shyness, family transitions, or a new student, to simply benefiting from the one-on-one inter-generational relationship built with their special Listener.
If you would like more information for your child to participate in their school, or if you would be interested in volunteering to become a Listener please contact JFS Volunteer Coordinator at 973-765-9050 or email. We are always looking for members of the community who care about the future of our children.