Implementing and Evaluating a University-led Multigenerational and Multicultural Community Cafe Program

By: Junko Wake  

In order to promote multigenerational and multicultural integration and a mutually caring community, a community café program was created on the university campus where residents, volunteers, international and Japanese students, university staff, city officials, and health and social work professionals could participate and interact. The project began in April 2016, and the first café was opened in November 2016. The core staff meeting was organized and the café was held once a month. The project is carried out and evaluated using an action research method. Evaluation surveys are conducted with all the participants and core staff every six months to monitor and improve the program. In 2018, on average, 55 residents and 15 university students participated in the café every month. The evaluation surveys indicated that more than 95 percent of the residents were satisfied. Compared to the same questionnaire administered one year ago, the percentage of the residents who are male, living alone, have concerns for their heath, or have limited interactions with relatives and friends has increased. The program has proven effective in meeting the preliminary goals of the new initiative to promote multigenerational and multicultural interactions to lessen the social isolation experiences by elderly residents in the community. The project is also beneficial for international and Japanese students who gain opportunities to collaborate with a wide variety of people in both formal and informal sectors. Further investigation and collaboration efforts are needed to continue the project with less support from the formal sector.

Multigenerational program, Multicultural program, Community cafe, Collaboration, Action research
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Poster Session

Junko Wake

Professor, Social Welfare, Tokyo Metropolitan University