Grand pals get new friends in intergenerational partnershipsThe Duluth YMCA has teamed up with Little Treasures and seniors at Ecumen Lakeshore to foster bonding across generations.
By: Kati Anderson, Northland’s NewsCenter
The Duluth YMCA has teamed up with Little Treasures and seniors at Ecumen Lakeshore to foster bonding across generations.
“It’s been a while since I have taken care of babies,” said Jerry Carpenter, who volunteers taking care of babies at Little Treasures Day Care.
When his wife passed away two years ago, Carpenter started looking for ways to pass the time.
“I realized I needed something to do. I like kids and it just seemed like a good place to work,” he said.
“Grandpa Jerry just really likes holding the children and playing and reading to them ... and actually one day ... I got it on video: he walked into the room, the kids heard his voice, and they wandered up to the gate and fought over him, and they actually do fight over who is going to sit in his lap,” said Peg Johnson, the executive director of YMCA Little Treasures.
Seniors who live at Lakeshore get to spend time with children at the daycare to foster intergenerational relationships.
About 10 seniors volunteer their time and one lady is a century older than many of the little ones.
“One of the grandmas that came just recently was done rocking babies for a whole hour, and I said, ‘Thank you for your help,’ and she said, ‘Oh, I didn’t do anything, but I love watching the children play,’ so it does create totally something different in their week,” said Johnson.
That “something different” can also be a challenge.
“Sometimes it’s a little difficult to get them to settle down, but once they do, it feels good that you found something that works,” said Carpenter.
The YMCA held an open house Tuesday to celebrate Intergenerational Month and to honor all of the volunteers.
Naomi Yaeger contributed to this story.