Building a Generational Bridge

This collage of smiling faces belongs to Brewster Place residents and local children from Topeka.  Brewster Place has a wonderful Intergenerational Program to bring younger and older people together to collaborate, to laugh and to bond.  This program is dear to my heart because I have experienced it!

While in college earning a degree in Gerontology, each student was paired with an independent living resident at a senior retirement home. Because of our blue eyes, I was paired with a lovely woman named Linda. Other than the blue eyes we were very different from one another, but after a few visits we found many things we had in common and a strong bond formed between us. I soon became her companion and we continued our friendship long after my graduation. Even though I moved home and we were miles apart, we would still visit and laugh and share our friendship.  I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from her and become her friend.

Intergenerational Programs are social vehicles which offer younger and older generations the chance to interact and become engaged: sharing life experiences, knowledge and skills and providing purpose and meaning for the older adults and the younger generation.

Through COVID, Brewster’s Intergenerational Program has looked more like pen pals, art work, zoom meetings and phone calls. Yes, it is different, but the joy that our residents experience and the powerful love that the children gain are beautiful. Brewster residents are eagerly awaiting the day they can connect with the children in our community again!

Feel free to share your intergenerational relationship below!

Have a peachy day and don’t forget to smile!

Chelsy Wessel

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