IDEAL

Intentional Deep Experiences Across Lifecycles

“The joy of this program has spread throughout the school and the senior department with other staff members wanting to be a part.  In fact, on elder days, we often have JCC staff and members just standing at the door watching with joy across their faces. We feel like it has impacted so many more than just the senior and EC, it helps others around us to remember why we do the important work that we do at JCCs.”

Tara Ohayon
Early Childhood Center Director

“I love the Grandfriend’s Program and we’ve stayed in close touch with Toby (our grandfriend)  since quarantine.  We’ve FaceTimed, spoken on the phone and even received a “socially distant” visit from Toby for Rachel’s birthday! Toby came by the house with some presents for Rachel and we chatted (far away). It was great for them to see each other, as Rachel misses the program. Rachel also took a picture of her and Toby and added it to our “family photo” table.  We’ve made Toby part of our “extended family” at this point and would like the program to continue for other children to enjoy for years to come.”

Melissa, mother of a child Program Participant
Testimonials of Deepening Relationships During COVID-19

“The impact on all families participating in this program has been far greater than I could have imagined.  The comments that I have gotten from both the parents and the grandparents who pick up their grandchildren from school have shown us that this experience has opened up their worlds. They talk about how they feel that the gifts of knowledge and warmth that the elder generation imbues has brought the relationships between us and their families even closer.  People feel seen, held and valued even more.”

Cherene Radis, Director
Moriah Early Childhood Center

“The children have gained a great deal out of this experience….They have gained more empathy and compassion. They have developed perspective taking skills and have become more accepting. The children have developed meaningful and lasting relationships. Even their parents ask “can we go visit? Are we allowed?”

Tome Allali,
Educator Facilitator

I see my child’s admiration for older adults and showing her sweet, loving, genuine side to adults and playing with different generations…she is learning a lot from this wise old man who has such simple life lessons to give her. When we asked him what his secret to living such a long life is [when visiting on the occasion of his 101st birthday], he said “Just enjoy every day, day by day.” Hopefully she will remember that, and just enjoy every day to the fullest.”

Laura Nessel
Mother of child Program Participant

“This program was truly life changing for the elders. Each and every one of them have voiced their gratitude for participating in it, and have overwhelmingly positive experiences to share.  It is such a win-win for both the elders and children.”

Katharine Rubenstein,
Senior Program Director
“I am excited to be working with you! I saw a website you built and really liked the look, and how easy it was to navigate.
Here are the testimonials to work with. Let me know if you need more! I chose to leave the location out because several of the quotes are from one site (it is where I work so I had the most access to interviewing people)…let me know if you think it is ok this way. The rest is coming!”

When schools were closed, I asked to contact her family, so we could continue to talk and maintain our new friendship and also because I wanted to wish her a happy birthday.  We have been able to speak  by phone, Mom sent me pictures of her building with Lego’s which she loves. I sent her coloring book pages by mail, because she loves to color. I was able to drive by her home before Passover, to drop off a box of goodies, including a children’s bag of Plagues for her Seder.  And we got to visit on her front porch following social distancing rules.  We still talk by phone and we are planning a play date when social distancing is a thing of the past.”

Tobe, grandfriend Program participant
Testimonials of Deepening Relationships During COVID-19

“I was very delighted to participate in the Grandfriends Program, especially after meeting Rachel.  Rachel is so sweet and friendly. Our first meeting was so delightful as she is very smart and her vocabulary very sophisticated for a 4-year-old. At the end of our first meeting, she invited me to a sleep over at her house. She melts my heart by greeting me with a big hug every time and when she leaves at the end of our time together….She had invited me on several meetings to her birthday party which unfortunately happened during our stay at home time due to COVID-19.”

Testimonials of Deepening Relationships During COVID-19

“My grand friend’s name is Eileen, and I like drawing silly pictures with her! It makes me happy when I see her. I love her.”

Ari, 4.5 years old,
Program Participant

“These children are so smart, and the time flies by when they come to visit. The future of the Jewish people are in good hands.”

Lou, 94 years old,
Resident at Center For Jewish Elderly Gidwitz Place
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