Bridging Generations is a Middle School student-initiated program with the aim to provide a service learning project to bridge generations.
The Seniors and Students program was MS student initiated with the aim to provide a service learning project to bridge generations. Respecting and appreciating the interaction between youth and senior citizens is so important to us and we wanted to help foster this idea.
Fairseat Foundation is a retirement community with 38 residents in Rosslyn, Nairobi. The cottages are set in a beautiful compound, with the gardens cared for by the residents. In September 2018, we had a meeting with the Director and Chairperson of Fairseat to share our idea for a program for students and seniors. They were so enthusiastic and welcoming and in October 2018, we had our first meeting.
So far we have had four meetings, once a month on a Saturday. There are about six to eight students participating, from middle school and a similar amount of resident seniors. It has been surprisingly challenging to get both students and seniors to join us and interested in interacting with each other! However, each month the numbers are growing as everyone is having a lot of fun, and realising how valuable and special these reunions are. Next month we have invited the ISK grade 7 Compass Club group to join us.
At the start of each meeting we gather in the Fairseat Library to share stories and talk about different topics over a cup of tea and tasty cakes followed by activities. Listening to the residents tell us their personal experiences during the World Wars made them so much more relevant and real to us now. The average age of the residents is 80 years old! We have learnt so much from the seniors, for example, many of us did not know what Poppy Day was about! Thanks Yvonne, you are a wonderful teacher!
Mr. Stevenson, who will be 99 years old this March, was the first game warden of several National Parks in Tanzania. He teaches us to play lawn croquet and about wildlife conservation. Anja speaks five languages and teaches us to play boules and chess. Fiona teaches us bridge - not an easy game! Debonnaire, was an actress and loves painting and learning to use her iPad with our help to keep in touch with her family. We learn about the resident chameleons and birds thanks to Ben, who knows them all. The beautiful gardens and the delicious honey produced by the stingless bees are a result of Joanne's green thumb. Each meeting has been different and every time we return it feels like we are catching up with friends.
Often we play indoor or outdoor games, depending on the weather. We have also had painting classes which were very popular with everyone and it was especially nice to exchange paintings after and also deliver them as gifts to other residents. We have also done some photography in the gardens as we aim to create a booklet of the beautiful flora and fauna of Fairseat. In December, we made Christmas cards and decorations together and this was a lot of fun. The seniors were so happy to receive them and used them to decorate the library.
During the last meeting, we visited some of the residents that are less mobile, read stories and chatted. It was lovely to see them smile and give them some company. For our next meeting in March, we plan to build bird feeders and nesting boxes together to attract more birds like owls and hornbills.
Overall, we are so happy that this program is going well and shows us all that seniors and youth can mutually benefit through sharing positive and fun life experiences that promote friendship and respect.
Fairseat Foundation residents and ISK students can work together to connect generations. If you are interested in joining please contact us:
Siana - Grade 8
Tamia - Grade 6
Fairseat Foundation https://www.fairseat.org