OSWEGO, NY – The “Greatest Generation” and the “Google Generation” may have more in common than they think.
The two generations represent an age range of some 50 years, but the two groups which include the residents of Springside and 22 students from a Volney Elementary sixth grade class, are finding they have plenty to share and are truly enjoying their time together.
This has turned out so much better than we thought it would, according to sixth grade teachers Mary Kimball and Stephanie Zimmerman.
The rapport the students have with the residents is wonderful. The students are getting just as much out of this experience as the residents, they added.
The two groups have gotten together four times for about 90 minutes since school began in September.
Each resident has been paired up with a student or two.
In order to make everyone comfortable before their first get together, they wrote letters to one another, a practice that continues.
The students are learning about having conversations, how to listen as the seniors share what it was like when they grew up and also how to write letters, which is becoming a lost art, said the teachers.
Resident Jim Abel has been paired up with Katie Distin and Kelsey Pickard.
“I think this has been a great opportunity for both the residents and students,” Abel said. “We are learning so much from one another and it’s been good therapy for the residents to share our memories.”
The girls have also enjoyed their visits to Springside.
“It is fun coming here because they just always put a smile on my face,” said Pickard.
Distin added, “I love hanging around the residents and hearing their history.”
At the final and most recent get together, resident Rusty Koes wore an ornament that Chloe Davis made for her.
“It’s been very fun because we are learning what it will be like when we get older,” Davis said.
While Koes joked that perhaps Davis could teach her to text, she added that she appreciated the nice letters and drawings that Chloe has sent to her.
Springside’s Chief Operating Officer Teresa Ferlito said that she has enjoyed watching the relationships grow between the residents and the students.
“This has been a wonderful experience for the residents and I know they look forward to the students’ visits,” she said.
Providing the funding for the bus transportation to Springside was the Fulton Lions Club.
“The Volney students and teachers are very appreciative of the Lions Club that made this program possible,” Kimball said.