New project to link seniors with area students

Par Mario Pitre
New project to link seniors with area students
(Photo : CAB Valleyfield)

A new project initiated by the Monteregie West Community Network in partnership with the New Frontiers School Board is actively recruiting seniors to participate in an exciting intergenerational learning opportunity with students from area schools.
The Conserving History Through Generations project aims to bring together seniors with students for a mutually enriching experience in which young people will learn about local history by helping participants to tell their stories through a variety of traditional print and new digital plat-forms. With the goal of introducing the two groups of participants before the holiday season, the project is now in a recruitment phase where organizers are hoping to find volunteers wiling to participate from across the Valley.
The Monteregie West Community Network (MWCN), with its mandate to build a strong and vibrant English-speaking community across the broader Monteregie-West region, received a grant from the federal New Horizons for Seniors program, which supports community-based initiatives that help seniors make a difference in the lives of others while also encouraging the social participation and inclusion of the elderly population.
“There is solid evidence that intergenerational programs like this benefit the young, the elderly and the whole community,” says Don Rosenbaum, an advocate for intergenerational connections, who sits on the committee overseeing the project with the MWCN. For Rosenbaum, such projects “foster inclusion and cohesion, the breakdown of barriers and stereotypes, and more volunteer activities which contribute to the public good.”
With the status of local schools as Community Learning Centres (CLC), they are well-placed as contact zones between seniors and youth. NFSB schools are already benefitting from numerous programs that bring senior volunteers into the buildings, including Breakfast Clubs, reading circles, knitting groups and Intergenerational Cafés.
Documenting local stories
« When connecting with community partners and senior organizations, we saw a need to document the stories and memories of local elders to conserve our past for future generations,” says Kaylie Stuckey, who recently joined the CLC team at the NFSB as a Development Agent for CVR and the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre. “Senior participation is essential to this project because these stories live only in the minds of the wise but should be shared across the Valley,” she notes. While students will become more engaged in local history through the telling of personal stories relating to local events, industry and development among other topics, seniors will be introduced to new types of technology while participating in a project that will lend their stories to the history of the Valley. The aim of the project is to create a book detailing the stories collected during the student-senior encounters, as well as a series of video vignettes for an online audience.
For more information on this project, or to volunteer, please contact Kaylie Stuckey, CLC Development Agent, either by email at:, or by phone at: 450-829-2381 ext. 245.

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