May 21, 2020
Recently, “Bethesda Magazine” recognized Thomas S. Wootton High School Senior, Alexis Bentz, as one of the winners of their annual Extraordinary Teen Awards. Her journey to this award started when she was just 12 years old. Inspired by her close relationship with her grandparents, Alexis wanted to create a column called “Generations Together” to bridge the gap between older adults and teenagers, creating relationships of mutual understanding. She pitched her idea to the editor of “The Beacon” newspaper, an area publication for adults over 50 in Washington, D.C. region, and her column was born.
However, Alexis did not stop there with her mission to bridge the generational gap. She also became a long-time volunteer at The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community, where she founded the Generations Together club, an intergenerational group of older adults and middle school aged children that meet on a regular basis to socialize and learn from each other.
When Alexis began her volunteer work at The Village at Rockville, she was a student at Robert Frost Middle School. She became so passionate about serving older adults in her community that after she began high school at Thomas S. Wootton High School, she founded a second chapter of Generations Together. Alexis’ passion for cross generational understanding resulted in 30 students and two teachers from Alexis’ former middle and high schools making a difference in the lives of residents and guests until a few months ago when the groups had to stop volunteering at The Village at Rockville due to COVID-19. Plans were even underway to host an intergenerational prom that has been postponed.
Volunteer coordinator, Isabel Bouchard says she's not surprised that Alexis was recognized as an Extraordinary Teen. "Alexis is a very mature, well-organized, compassionate and detail-oriented young lady. She understands the aging process and the importance of one-on-one engagement - that's something she came to The Village at Rockville with, not that we instilled in her. The fact that she had that vision to put an intergenerational program together for us is absolutely amazing."
Isabel says due to Alexis's initiative, the Generations Together group meets either every Wednesday afternoon to visit residents in the memory care neighborhood or once a month to visit long-term care residents. Residents are always delighted to see and spend time with the students and look forward to the day they can visit with the students again.
"I have worked with a number high school children, but Alexis is particularly mature," Isabel adds. "I think her insightfulness and passion for others is definitely going to carry her far in life."
Congratulations to Alexis from the entire team at The Village at Rockville.