Stephen Blackie – Executive Director, Bedford Village & The Village at Westmount

Here at Bedford Village we are overjoyed to have the program in place, allowing weekly interactions between our residents and local schoolchildren.  When I first heard of their work, I was excited to have them in our Bedford Village community to support intergenerational communication, community building and life enrichment for our residents.  They continue to achieve and exceed those goals every year using absolute minimal budgets and driven dedicated volunteers and staff.  The impact this program has in my building and on the lives of the participates, residents and students, alike is tangible. If you are lucky enough to observe it the laughter and communication flows unabated in our dining room on program days as the properly matched students and residents share and learn from each other.

For years, I have seen the relationships grow and bring quality life enrichment to my residents and the students. In some cases, the bonds formed last long after the program year has ended and benefit the community for years.   The ingenuity and dedication of the program leadership and volunteers ensured it was maintained in spite of Covid precautions in a safe and effective way and proved even more valuable during the periods of isolation forced upon my residents to keep them safe. Indeed when the school year started, many residents came to me concerned about linking generations as they felt it was vital to their wellness. 

The Linking Generations program supports the concept of being good neighbours in a measurable way.  Some would question the wisdom of putting a senior’s residence across the street from the school. Any fears of misalignment have been eliminated by this relationship and the kindness it fuels. The results are real and impactful and bring joy, caring and kindness to Bedford Village.