The Adult Academic Program (AAP) was recently awarded two prestigious state awards for its innovative, quality programming.
The Literacy Action Network PONI (Projects of Need and Innovation) Award and the MCEA Partnership Project Award were given to AAP’s Memory Quilt grant project. For the project, immigrant students from two classes at the Adult Academic Program partnered with senior residents at Covenant Village Retirement Home in Golden Valley. For this unique project, AAP teachers had several student goals: to learn about the U.S. elder care system and related job opportunities; to practice English language and writing skills; and to build community by establishing relationships with the seniors.
To accomplish the project goals, the two groups learned about and created individual paper art projects, using photos, fabric, ribbon, buttons, and other similar items. The art project was a first time experience for a number of students. The squares memorialized important people and events in students’ lives, while seniors wrote of fond memories from their past. The stories and artwork were printed onto photo fabric that later became the colorful squares of the Memory Quilt.
“As a result of participating in this project, students learned about aging in the U.S. and developed empathy and appreciation for older adults,” said Colleen Crossley, a teacher at the Adult Academic Program and creator of the memory quilt project. “They connected and learned from each other as well as from senior participants. Fast friendships were formed between individuals from different cultures, backgrounds, and age groups. In addition, several students became interested in pursuing elder care as a career pathway.”
The Robbinsdale Adult Academic Program provides instruction to over 1,200 students each year, including those seeking to improve their English language skills or their reading, writing, and math skills. AAP students can also complete their high school diploma, prepare for the GED, and get ready for college. The Adult Academic Program is located in the Crystal Learning Center at 305 Willow Bend, Crystal. Additional classes are located online and at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park.