The Kids Beat

Friends for the Ages

Community: Grand Friend Program

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The director of Heartworks Shelburne Preschool has been arranging a different kind of playdate this fall: between students and residents of the Lodge at Shelburne Bay, a senior living community down the road. The new Grand Friend Program brings the two groups together. In October, several seniors attended the school's Halloween parade; in November, students went to the Lodge to make Thanksgiving crafts. "There are tremendous benefits to this kind of intergenerational program," says Heartworks director Libby Macdonald. Her students get to engage with older adults and practice their social skills. As for their new pals? "It provides them with a strong sense of their value in the community," says the Lodge's resident services director Cherrie Willette. It's the next best thing to visiting grandma.

Grand Friend Program: Find more information at heartworksvt.com.

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