LEFT: Grade 2 students from Brantford ‘s Central School and Charlotte Villa residents colour together. RIGHT: Aminah Syed, a first-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University and SKIP Ambassador Coordinator.
Hello! My name is Aminah Syed and I am a first-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University. I am studying Business Technology Management with a potential minor in leadership. I got involved with SKIP (Seniors and Kids Intergenerational Programs) through an initiative called YLOB (Youth Leaders on Board). This initiative aims to give students an experience of being part of committees, in their organization of interest. I thoroughly enjoyed attending board meetings as I familiarized myself with the organization and got to know everyone. Mr. Shannon Fleet, SKIP District Rep and Liz Martorano, the Chair of SKIP introduced me to the ambassador program and gave me an amazing opportunity to take on the position of Ambassador Coordinator.
So far I have been on two visits to Charlotte Villa retirement home with a grade 2 class from Central School and a grade 7 class from Our Lady of Providence. Students from Central School walked to Charlotte Villa on March 8th at 11 AM to spend time with the residents. The residents were prepared and waiting in the lobby for the kids to arrive. Once everyone settled in, Alexis and the teachers distributed colouring pages, cards and UNO around for everyone to play with. Both students and residents were equally enthusiastic about the visit and engaged with each other while enjoying refreshments.
While observing and interacting with students and residents, I realized how important this experience is for both.
Students were patiently communicating with the residents, who in turn were happily participating in games and activities with them. Closer to the end of the visit, a group of three girls sang to the residents and drew pictures to leave with them. After an exciting 40 minutes that they got to spend with each other, it was time to say goodbye.
My second visit was also at Charlotte Villa with a grade 7 class from Our Lady of Providence on March 23rd. Students arrived, settled in and started chatting away with the residents. A couple of minutes later Alexis distributed cards and dominoes, which everyone enjoyed playing with. A group of students and two residents played the telephone game while having cookies and juice! I found it particularly interesting that a grade 8 student requested to join the grade 7’s for this visit, as she wanted to see a resident whom she had previously formed a bond with. It really reflected on how important it is to bridge the gap between seniors and children, as both tend to learn a lot from each other. For this reason, I thoroughly enjoy being part of SKIP, and I hope to contribute to the organization to the best of my abilities!
Aminah with Our Lady of Providence Grade 7 students and CV residents
Aminah with Alexis VanDerMaelen (Director of Recreation at Charlotte Villa Residence in Brantford)