Recent Rise from the Ashes a Good Sign

By Michael Di Massa, Sherwood Park News
Monday, June 15, 2015 11:00:00 MDT PM

It’s good to see that Linking Generations has landed on its feet.

The program, which connects students with senior members of the community, returned last September.

Back in full force — and then some — the nonprofit is up for the Minister Seniors Service Award, which it last won back in 2008.

Instead of launching with the intended two junior high programs, Linking Generations is also running two high school programs and has the opportunity to start a fifth program when the new school year kicks off this September.

Five new programs in a year is one heck of an accomplishment.

The quick success of the program puts a positive spin on something that’s quickly becoming known as the selfie-indulgent Me First Generation.

Linking Generations is the kind of program I wish I had the opportunity to participate in when I was that age — although it likely would have taken some convincing from my parents to talk me into it. I am by nature a very introverted person, and this program could have helped break me out of my shell as a youngster.

It’s great that there will be five programs coming this September, but what would be even better is to see each school in the Elk Island Catholic and Public school systems gets involved — including the higher elementary grades.

The program has also proven to be a boon for the seniors themselves, according to executive director Debbie Sinclair.

“We did have one senior join our program only at his daughter’s insistence. He just moved into a seniors residence and really wasn’t quite knowing where to fit in. The daughter placed him into our program, and he is probably one of the most enthusiastic seniors we have,” she told the News last week (“Linking Generations skips no beats,” Friday, June 12).

Perhaps more than deteriorating health, the thing I dread most when I become a senior is living in a seniors complex. Yes, there are a lot of people around, but to put it into perspective, I lived in a dorm for three out of my four university years and people more often visited me than I did them. My wife and I currently have no kids, and if she were to pass first, it could be a lonely existence for me.

That’s why this program is so touching. This isn’t just a program that helps kids learn to appreciate their elders. It’s also a program that potentially fills the void in someone’s life.

michael.dimassa@sunmedia.ca

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