Sometimes, teenagers need a little guidance.
Most times, grandparents are great role models.
That’s the concept behind the GranVida Grandparent Buddy Program in partnership with Rincon High School, where both sides are benefitting in Carpinteria.
Inspired by a similar program at Ventura’s Pacific High School, this program is bridging the gap between the younger and the older generations, while it encourages Rincon students to spend time with and to learn from seniors as part of their education.
“The essence of the project is to get senior citizens living in independent and assisted living homes to have conversations, share stories and maybe even create some kind of relationship with teenagers,” said Audria Culaciati, program coordinator.
After all, what’s more powerful? Grandparents sharing experiences with a first-person delivery of passion and warmth vs. students reading something in a history book that’s third- person and cold? Naturally, Grandparents’ stories make all the difference in the world.
“Academically, the students utilize their older mentors as primary sources in researching academic topics in subject matters like history, economics and English. The students then go back to school and use the content in their classrooms, for example, either in biographies or as inspiration for research.”
For Rincon senior Yesica Torres, GranVida members are a powerful source of knowledge. “Reading about World War II (or) how Carpinteria schools (were) segregated isn’t the same as hearing someone’s life story in person,” said Torres. “I loved being involved with the project and will be involved in the next school year.”
Torres also says that she would recommend this program’s many benefits to other students. “I would definitely recommend it to other students, because learning how life was years ago from someone who went through it personally is amazing. You get to see and feel their emotions as they tell you their life stories.”
“The kids in the program that come to visit some of our residents connect with them in a very special way,” said Felipe Garcia, activities coordinator for GranVida. “It also benefits our residents … by interacting with these kids and getting the feeling of being positive role models for them.”
Photo credit: Consortium Media.