Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Skokie School District 73.5's Grandfriends Intergenerational Volunteer Program

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we’ll feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

In part 20 of our series, we feature Skokie School District 73.5’s Grandfriends Intergenerational Volunteer Program in Skokie, IL.

(Check our archives for parts 1-19.)

The Grandfriends Intergenerational Volunteer Program is one of the longest, continuously operating, school-based intergenerational programs in Illinois.

The program, which started in 1991, matches local older adult volunteers with kindergarten-fifth grade classrooms. Volunteers, in collaboration with the classroom teachers, work with students in areas of reading, writing and math.

Frequently Grandfriends share their own life experiences, which brings history to life.

Additionally, volunteers have helped in the school office, the library and with the art and music teachers.

The Skokie School District 73.5 is a culturally-diverse community and their Grandfriends help students as they learn to communicate in English. Enduring relationships have developed between teachers, school staff and our wonderful volunteers.

The volunteers love watching the children grow throughout the school year.

Their Grandfriends often serve as "ambassadors at large," sharing the insights they have gained by being in the school throughout the wider community.

Parents, students and school staff have all come to recognize and value the incredible resource their Grandfriends have become.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to ourIntergenerational Connections Facebook Group or just text us through the FacebookMessenger app (friend me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion). We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

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