The Pruett Gerontology Center is committed to involving students in the area of aging services and skills through volunteerism and practical experience. ACU students have numerous opportunities to participate through local organizations like these:
- Certified Ombudsmen - Students become Certified Ombudsmen through the West Central Texas Area Agency on Aging giving them both valuable experience in resolving conflicts and experience in local nursing homes as advocates for the residents.
- Meals on Wheels / Friends for Life - Students volunteer time to help older adults in the community by delivering meals or by using their skills to do minor repairs, run errands, help around the house, and just be a friend to someone who needs one.
- Aphasia Support Group - This group organized by the West Texas Rehab Center helps individuals with Aphasia who have already gone through Speech Therapy to maintain their progress and practice different forms of communication.
Practicums include a variety of local organizations such as Alzheimer's Association, Wesley Court Alzheimer's Care, Adult Protective Services, Mesa Springs, hospice and home care organizations, University Place, Christian Village, Area Agency on Aging, and more.
Students also interact and serve through multiple on-campus activities that promote intergenerational activities:
The Retirees Ministry Conference (RMC) covers a wide variety of issues including spirituality, caregiving and relationships in transition. It also emphasizes the fact that older adults are a huge resource of experience, ideas and support. Intergenerational activities at churches benefit both young and old. The young receive knowledge and wisdom from their elders, and the old receive the opportunity to stay engaged with purpose. RMC encourages churches to view their older adults as valuable resources who have much to contribute.
The 'Images of Aging' Photo Contest encourages students to engage with older adults using the creative medium of photography. Photos should demonstrate high quality and sensitivity to the subject of mature adulthood. Visit the ‘Images of Aging’ blog for information on this year’s contest and to view previous year’s photos and contest winners.
Careers in Aging Week, organized by ACU's chapter of the gerontology honor society Sigma Phi Omega, raises awareness among the ACU community for aging studies. Gerontology certificate students and local professionals talk about career opportunities serving older adults in a variety of fields. Students also participate in an 'obstacle' course designed to give a glimpse of what it is like to 'get old'. The week also features the popular 'Free Hugs' giveaway from local seniors ready to share in the love.
'Aging Issues' Guest Speakers - Pruett Gerontology Center is committed to bringing guest speakers on campus who can inspire both faculty and students with their stories. Recent speakers include the following:
- Chris Kyker, who shared her experience as advocate for older adults through the Silver-Haired Texas Legislature, encouraging us that even one person who is passionate about an issue can make a difference.
- Libby Embry, who spoke of her personal experience with Alzheimer's, having been diagnosed at the young age of 57. Libby is a very active advocate with the National Early Stage Alzheimer's Advisory Group.