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This has been a challenging year for our seniors. As Linking Generations navigated a new world created by this challenging COVID global pandemic, the need for intergenerational connections between seniors and youth became more evident than ever before. The past months reinforced how critical it is that our community seniors be connected to family and to friends. With severe visiting restrictions placed at all senior facilities, many seniors have had little or no contact with the outside world. Beginning in March of 2020, Linking Generations created a letter writing program, where all program participating students wrote weekly letters to their “linked” seniors. Each week, LG Program Coordinators would forward these special letters to the senior facilities so that they could be delivered like regular mail. Seniors even undertook with writing back to the students! We are proud to share that over 250 letters/emails have been shared between the linked students and seniors! Some of the participating LG seniors and students also connected virtually through Skye or Zoom. LG helped our seniors remain cared for, valued and connected.

In the wake of COVID-19 and the start of moving towards a new normal, Linking Generations has spent the summer months in preparation for our 2020-2021 Program re-start. It has been even more evident that our seniors are isolated, lonely and withdrawn. It is critical that we keep seniors connected to youth. Although no-one can determine at this time what each of the next months will bring, we have our programs ready to go. We are committed to providing programs to help seniors better cope through the pandemic and day to day life in general.

Students and seniors will be able to visit while in their classroom cohorts with a senior in one of our senior facility partnerships, by a virtual platform. Together they can talk and get to know each other, and begin to share life stories and even do activities together virtually.  We shall also continue with our letter writing program since we know seniors love to receive unexpected ‘mail’ deliveries. Visiting on a virtual platform may be difficult for some of our seniors, however we are confident that we can ease their fears and make it seamless for them to continue to visit with our students. – Debbie Sinclair, Executive Director

I have been with the linking generations program for 5 years now. Five years is just about a third of the time I’ve lived. Through this program, I can recognize now that five years is not that long of a time.

Some seniors in this program are over 100 years old! Despite being in the program from grade seven to grade 12, I really only feel I’ve experienced a fraction of what any of these seniors could impart on me. I could spend every day just talking with any senior in the room and I would never hear all of their stories.

I also feel that I’ve gained a greater depth about how they live. Sometimes, when I’m in class at school, I find myself thinking “I can’t wait until Thursday!” and just a couple weeks ago it struck me: Some of our seniors feel like this all week, every week. Once I realized this, I finally fully realized this program’s impact on both us as students and our seniors: —- for us, it has increased our compassion and has also given us a greater understanding of other ways of life. For the seniors, it has given them someone they see often, someone they can talk to and share experiences with.

I could never give enough thanks to this program for helping me develop these skills that I will have for the rest of my life, and I think I speak for the seniors when I say they’d thank us for giving being a friend.

A Participating Student

I wanted to let you know what a great program this is. My daughter is thoroughly enjoying this experience and talks very positively about it. Thank you for making this happen. It most certainly has been great for my daughter!

A Parent