High School Programming 2015/2016 Makes a Difference!

Written by Roxanne Popowich; High School Program Coordinator
Archbishop Jordan High School/Chartwell Country Cottage Partnership

I always like to chat with the seniors who come early to the common room before the students arrive and one of the seniors at the last visit was expressing some concern about participating in LG because of some memory loss, she was forgetting who her students were. I reassured her that as soon as she saw them come in and started speaking with them it would come back to her. She was hesitant about doing the craft I had planned and again I reassured her that she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to and that the students would be helping her. At the end of the visit I made a point to ask her how she enjoyed it and she said, “It wasn’t long enough!” 🙂
I noticed another senior at the end of the same visit was looking at me with a concerned look on her face when I announced that it was time to go so I went and asked if there was something wrong. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Yes, I’m not ready to go. It’s like I have my kids back.” Well, I instantly teared up and gave her a hug! She clung to me for about a full minute. I finally said, Ok enough you’re gonna make me cry! Then we both laughed! That just made my day!!
Some students have also told me how much they’re enjoying the program this year. I happened to see one of the moms at an after-school function and I asked how her daughter was enjoying LG. She stated that her daughter comes home every Tues from Linking and can’t stop talking about how much she likes her senior and how funny he is. She also liked the activities.
These visits are making a difference in their lives and in mine as well. They are one of the highlights of my week!

Linking Generations Taped Interview on SHAW TV

Linking Generations was honoured and excited to have been asked by one of our funders; Field Law Community Fund Program;  to participate in a live/on location pre-taped camera interview with Shaw TV .

This interview occurred Tuesday October 20th, 2015. We were very fortunate to have the interview happen while we were celebrating one of our senior/student visits at Silver Birch lodge. The students from Lakeland Ridge school and those seniors in our program from Silver Birch, made the interview a huge success !!!


Please watch and share with everyone you know. This is a great way to gain a better understanding of the Linking Generations program and how we are impacting our youth and seniors.


Linking Generations Awarded FCS Funding

Linking Generations is honored to be awarded funding from the County of Strathcona Family and Community Services. A special cheque presentation ceremony was held May of 2015 by Mayor Roxanne Carr. Presenting the cheque for the 2015 Social Services Grant Program was Mayor Roxanne Carr and FCS Board Member Marilyn Spilchen. Accepting the cheque for Linking Generations is Executive Director Debbie Sinclair and Board Member Glenda Sheard.


We are grateful and honored to have this Community Partnership with the County of Strathcona Family and Community Services.

TELUS Edmonton Community Board Partners with Linking Generations

The TELUS Edmonton Community Board guides the companies support for many diverse local community charitable organizations. TELUS team members together make local funding decisions and seek out community partners to help ensure that TELUS contributions make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people of the community, and approach that is unique in Canada.

Linking Generations is proud to be a recipient with funding being received from the TELUS Edmonton Community Board.

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.


Local Event to Support LG

By Krysta Martell, Sherwood Park News
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:37:10 MDT PM

Baseline Chiropractic and Wellness Centre is hosting an event in an effort to teach residents the importance of health and wellness.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, from noon to 4 p.m. the centre is holding a health day where there will be massage therapy, acupuncture sessions, chiropractic information, nutrition samples, juicing and recipes.

“One of the philosophies of our clinic is to always improve or grow our imprint of self and wellness in the community and so we have reached an area of maturity in our clinic where we have a holistic nutritionist, chiropractic component, massage therapy and holistic acupuncture,” said Kelly Fleck, co-owner of Baseline Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.

“Our goal is always to educate and bring our message of health and wellness to the community… We used to do kids wellness days whereas this, we wanted to bring health for the whole family.”

Additionally, the centre will also be supporting Linking Generations, which is a program where Grade 7, 8 and 9 students are linked with a senior citizen to build a relationship and bridge the gap between generations. Fleck’s daughter is involved with the program and he felt it was a natural choice.

“What we liked about Linking Generations… is that our clinic is a balance between physical, emotional and nutritional well-being and when I heard about Linking Generations, it just sparked that emotional well-being,” he said.

“This perfectly aligns with that emotional component because too often, especially in our senior years, we live in an environment that can be depressed and they don’t always thrive, and that is why I insisted,” Fleck said. “My daughter is very busy and I wanted her to be a part of that this year. It will grow herself, as well, as a nurturer and as a person, a communicator, but also with that senior she gets linked with. She can bring her talent and her goals to the senior and maybe together they can grow that way.”

The event is free of charge with prizes up for grabs, and Fleck said there will be on-site chair massages at a cost of $1 a minute, proceeds from which will go towards Linking Generations. He added there will be a lot of discounts on services and products, as well as a lot of information on how to move, think and eat well. There will also be activities for kids such as balloons and jumpy things to keep them active.

“This is just to promote health and promote better living, and we want to educate people on how their spine moves and why that movement is important, proper nutrients that our body should take on a regular basis through our nutrition and then just good structural health,” Fleck said.


Linking Generations Skips No Beats

By Megan Voss, Sherwood Park News
Thursday, June 11, 2015 4:11:48 MDT PM

Less than a year after starting up again, Linking Generations has been nominated for a minister’s award.

Linking Generations, a non-profit, inter-generational program based in Sherwood Park, was one of 81 nominations for the 2015 Minister’s Seniors Service Awards, which recognizes organizations or individuals in Alberta who volunteer their time to make a difference in the lives of seniors.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Linking Generations executive director Debbie Sinclair of the nomination.

“Linking Generations actually received the minister’s award in 2008, so to be nominated once again — it’s such an honour…. When we initially resurrected ourself for programming in 2014 in September, it was our goal to come back to the community with two programs — two junior high programs. We have come back with four programs — we have two junior highs and two senior highs, and we will be introducing a fifth junior high program this year. To come back and know there is such a demand in our community for this type of programming and this type of youth and senior mentorship is phenomenal. The support that this community has given Linking Generations is part of our success.”

She believes Linking Generations was nominated because of the value the program offers to seniors and youth in the community.

“There’s so many worthy, non-profit organizations out there in our own community, but to have our name put forward, that alone just recognizes and validates that we are a non-profit that’s needed,” Sinclair added.

There has been an increase of senior participation in the program by 20 per cent since starting up again, she noted.

“Normally, when we go into our seniors lodges and we ask the seniors to be involved, they’re hesitant. They don’t know what to expect about them. This year, we had more seniors than we have ever faced, which is wonderful,” Sinclair said.

“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.”

Linking Generations is a program where students from junior high and high schools are matched to a senior, and they visit that senior for a year in a structured, mentored, visit environment.

“We believe that seniors are feeling isolated once they’re placed into whether it be long-term care or just seniors care,” Sinclair said.

“We’re not going into individuals’ homes, these are all seniors residences. A lot of our seniors may not have families in the vicinity and they’ve also lost touch with youth. Our youth go in and teach the seniors what the youth are going through in today’s generation — their issues. The seniors, in turn, teach our students what it was like maybe 50, 60, 70 years ago.”

Upcoming plans include adding a fifth school — St. Theresa Catholic School — to the program.

Sinclair said there were many notable moments she was able to witness so far.

“We unfortunately had two students this year who lost their senior midway through the program — he passed away,” she said.

“I know it sounds like a sad highlight, but to be able to watch today’s youth be able to understand what the circle of life really means and to have them themselves explain it to their peers — that is a highlight, because it reinforces that we’re teaching these kids. They’re getting an experience that they normally might not get.”

Sometime in the fall, the award will be given to eight organizations or individuals.

The executive director credits the support behind the organization for how well it has done in just over half a year.

“We would not be able to grow so quickly and so successfully if it wasn’t for our funders and our huge supporters,” Sinclair said.


Linking Generations was a very positive experience for me

Hi everyone,

Linking Generations was a very positive experience for me this year. I got to meet Albert, one the coolest seniors I’ve ever gotten to know. We had a lot of fun talking and doing activities during the LG program. Even though he never had any kids, he treated us like we were his own. He had SKILLS playing Mexican Train!


I really liked his sense of humour. This picture is a fun memory because after he slipped and fell on ice, he bruised his eye. But what he told us was “ You think I look bad, you should see the other guy”. We laughed a lot together. I will miss him a lot and will always remember him.


God bless you Albert and may you rest in Peace.