GrandPals is an exciting intergenerational initiative that was developed at Montgomery Village Public School in Orangeville. The program aims to connect students with seniors in the local community, for the purpose of writing a life book for the senior. At the beginning of the project, students are introduced to a number of big ideas (e.g. "Every person is a story", “Age is only a number” and “We are different, but the same”), a number of keywords (ageism, dignity, honour, etc.) and literature on intergenerational friendship. These activities provide students with a framework for understanding their intergenerational experience. As students engage in the interview portion of the project, they learn about their GrandPal's life, and research locations that their GrandPal has visited and the historical events that they have lived through.
The program culminates in an end of project celebration, where students showcase their GrandPals’ life books. Seniors involved in the program have shared how beneficial the program has been for them. It has provided many seniors with a life review, friendship and an opportunity to influence and educate the upcoming generation. Students are deeply engaged as they develop their literacy, computer and interpersonal communication skills, as well as a broader historical understanding. Students also develop an attitude of "service above self" and, in this way, the program has a great affinity with the work that Rotary does both locally and internationally.
This year, the GrandPals program is being expanded into several more local schools. The Rotary Club of Orangeville is recruiting seniors to partner with students from Spencer Ave. Elementary School, to participate in the program.
If you’re a senior, enjoy young people, are comfortable talking about yourself and your life, can commit to 8 to 12 hours of interview time over the next 3 to 4 months, and would like to participate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rotarian Fred Murphy at 519-941-3945. To learn more about GrandPals please visit their website at http://grandpals.ca.