Bridging the gap between generations

Aug 13, 2019

The Wareham Middle School students are trying to bring a smile to eldelry residents in the community - one dish at a time. 

After a busy summer of planning and preparing, Wareham CARE students executed the final project of Operation Grandpals: hosting a luncheon in the school library. 

The service-learning project was started by instructor Marie Ferreira, who wanted to foster intergenerational interactions between the youth and the elderly in Wareham.

“We started to see that the seniors and the students are lacking a connection, so we decided to start this program that bridges the gap between the young and old generation, and that was the birth of operation Great Pals,” said Ferreira. 

For the past five weeks, students in the CARE summer program, all of whom are middle school students, met with residents from the All-American Assisted Living facility to make crafts, sing songs, and play games. 

On Tuesday, those seniors along with members of Wareham Council on Aging enjoyed a lunch of salad, pasta with sauce, and cookies which the students prepared with the help of cooking class instructor Katy Martin. As seniors enjoyed their meal, the children entertained them with music performances. 

“This is a one of a kind thing,” said one of the seniors, Judy Locke. “These kids are really great. I can see all the hard work they put in. I am really proud of them. This day has been sunshine to me.”

“I am very impressed with these students and all the work they put in,” said another senior, Maxine Munroe. “They all work together in entertainment, cooking, decorations, it is a very collaborative teamwork and they did great.”

Students created all the table decor, including paper napkin rings, placemats, and cloth flowers.

“If I am going to serve my family, I am going to know what to do,” said Lance Mercint, one of the students. “I learned to cook some things, and I also learned how to be more confident when talking to someone new.”