Some Edmonton students received a first-hand history lesson recently, when they ventured out of the classroom and into a seniors’ residence.
Grade 4 students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School dropped by Extendicare Eaux Claires to read, colour and share memories with residents.
Extendicare Eaux-Claires’ Christine Pompei said it’s important for seniors to be exposed to different generations.
“A lot of our folks move into the facility and become isolated. You have only one demographic you’re exposed to.
“When you have different age groups, you’re able to connect with them.”
The kids went through a list of questions with the seniors that included: “Who was your best friend in grade school?” and “How did you get to school everyday?” and “What did you like to play outside on the playground?”
WATCH BELOW (Sept. 16, 2019): Toronto HomeShare matches seniors wishing to share a spare room in their home with postsecondary students looking for affordable housing.
Pompei said playing games, such as charades, helps the seniors mentally and physically.
“Our seniors can remember what it was like to move that way, or have fun that way. It’s contagious.”
A former principal of St. Elizabeth Seton, now living in care, was brought to tears at the prospect of a new generation of young minds coming to learn.
“I love kids,” Louis Bassani said. “I just love kids.”
Maddy Rogge, a Grade 4 student, said it’s exciting to learn more about what life was like when the seniors were younger.
“Well, there was definitely less technology!” Rogge said.
The group joined the seniors as part of a grant provided by the United Way’s Dentons Make Your Mark On Poverty, which encourages student-led projects that take action against local poverty.
Students will give the gift of time elsewhere too, such as making sandwiches at the Mustard Seed and writing Valentine’s Day cards to veterans.
“Working with seniors… all different sorts of poverty groups, and just giving our time is important,” teacher Paula Vinnick explained. “This world is bigger than us and even just a little thing can make a difference in someone’s life to let them know we are thinking about them.”
WATCH: One in eight Edmontonians live in poverty and many of them are children. The United Way’s #UNIGNORABLE Kickoff Festival aims to change. Carolyn Campbell and Rob Yager share details.
Student Ewan Jomadassery told Global News it feels good to be sharing stories with an older generation and that he will “definitely be sleeping better tonight.”
“Everyone deserves love, no matter who they are.”