Each summer, high schoolers volunteer us as classroom aides in our much-loved summer program – our Summer Youth Leaders. They expand their skill sets, enjoy time with the younger kids, and have fun with fellow volunteers. It’s an immersive way to learn professionalism and build key soft skills while giving back. So when we could not hold our program in-person last summer, it wasn’t only the little ones who missed it.
We found solutions for our younger students by distributing learning kits and creating captivating online lessons. But how could we engage high school students who wanted to help their community in this difficult time?
This was the genesis of Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Senior to Senior Program.
Working with Pasadena Village, our goal was to partner high school students with elders in our community for personal connections, mutual learning, and support. The program began last May.
Now in its third session, the Senior to Senior Program has served its participants in untold ways. Friendships have been formed. Advice given. Stories shared. Laughter exchanged. Our elder partners offered much needed insights on surviving this crazy time… and they did it over the phone, through emails – even via texts and Zoom meetings.
No doubt our high schoolers served our community’s elders, but the unexpected benefit came from the elders helping our high school students manage the stress of attending high school at home. It’s been an intergenerational win-win.
The Senior to Senior Program continues to teach participants about living lives of quality and connection despite differences and distance. Learn more about our Senior to Senior Program here.
By Nancy Carol Inguanzo | PEF Volunteer & Engagement Manager