Grandbuddies return as Teenage Youth Volunteers spending time with seniors


Love this when our young grandbuddies return as Youth Volunteers. Thank you to Mary Lee who submitted this article into our local newspaper highlighting volunteer programs at The Views.

When you step into The Views at St. Joseph’s you will see fulfilling relationships in the works. Residents are continuously involved in meaningful engagement. There is an abundance of interaction, especially with one group in individuals, the volunteers.
Volunteer interaction is having amazing transformations in a person-directed care environment created at The Views. Their involvement differs from that of the healthcare provider in that it is specifically designed to engage residents, be it in a conversation or more collaborative such as games, crafts and music.
Every Friday, Bill McLeod strolls through the front foyer beaming with enthusiasm and eager to work his shift. It’s hardly work. Bill just loves to give of his time and energy. He can usually be found in The Views or the Transitional Care Unit visiting with patients, assisting family members, helping serve meals, and generally be of service where needed. As a retired elementary school teacher, he particularly enjoys being part of the Grandbuddy program in The Views.
“I try to be someone who makes people smile and feel special. I tell my friends that the best thing about volunteering at St. Joe’s is that everyone is glad to see me.”
Bill began volunteering in 2001 after the death of his father in the Trauma Recovery Unit. His mother was admitted to The Views in 2012 and lived there until her death in 2014. Losing both of his parents has enabled Bill to approach patients and their families with empathy and compassion.
“I was deeply touched by the care Dad received from hospital staff and volunteers. These people looked after him like he was family – even though he was a total stranger. Mom also received exceptional treatment while she was in The Views. Volunteering at the hospital is my way of expressing my gratitude and appreciation for the compassion shown to my parents.”

Close-knit bonds shared between residents and volunteers are the result of consistent care partnerships, an aspect that the Grandbuddy Program brings to The Views. Graduates of this intergenerational program have been known to continue these relationships through the Youth Volunteer Program.
Regan Hadfield, the Summer Youth Volunteer Supervisor has seen some the Aspen Elementary Grandbuddy students return to extend their volunteer experience.
Raised in a family with careers in healthcare has had a positive influence.
“St. Joseph’s has always been a big part of our community. So, when two of my friends volunteered I decided to try it last summer and stayed throughout the fall volunteering at both The Views and Glacier View Lodge.”
Regan now supervises all summer volunteers. Regan will soon pursue her academic interest at University of Alberta in kinesiology but after witnessing a physiotherapy program at work at Glacier View, she envisions a future in residential care.
“I can see myself returning to work with seniors. Volunteering has changed my perception after I saw how their [Glacier View] physio program brings a quality of life.”
Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t have been more correct when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Volunteer programs create and foster community. True community exists where everyone’s well-being is nurtured and supported, which is one of the key principles of the Eden Philosophy of Care adopted at The Views.

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Grandbuddies by Carly, Grade 6

June 2017

I loved participating in the Grandbuddy program. Once a month, we walked down to the Views, and met up with our Grandbuddy. Mine is named Norma, she is a very positive, happy person! On our walk down you can tell that everyone is super excited to see their buddy, hustling so that that we can get there as fast as possible and chatting about how excited they are to see them after a whole month, and how they cannot wait to taste the delicious cookies once again!

The first session in October was one to remember! When I first met Norma she was a little shy, but after five inutes of talking, we were laughing and talking like we had known each other for years! It is such a cool relationship to have with someone. It is like they are not your grandparent, they are not your BFF, they are your Grandbuddy , and it is amazing.

My favorite activity that we did, was the coloring contest, Norma and I worked super hard, and even though we didn’t win, we were proud of our work! My second favorite activity was the Halloween parade! The costume contest, and the conga line were super fun!

I would like to thank Brenda, for creating this program and making this possible. Our teacher for dealing with all of the chatter on the way to the Views, and back. All of the staff and volunteers, for organizing the snacks, and helping us to find our Grandbuddy at the beginning of each session. And Norma, for being the best Grandbuddy I could have asked for!

I am so glad that my classmates and I had this surreal experience! Thank you so much!

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The First Visit

There are many feelings around the first visit when two generations come together for the first time. There is a combination of excitement and nervousness as this relationship begins. When a senior and a child are first introduced to each other there is a mixture of emotion, yet there is an easiness and spontaneity much like how two children are first introduced on the playground. With no inhibitions or expectations friendships begin almost instantaneously. The questionnaire included in the workbook is an interactive tool to get to know one another. Both generations learn what they may have in common and what their differences are.  The beginning of friendships are memorable. A positive first experience can lay the foundation of a relationship that can continue to grow over the course of time.

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Student Workbook now available for sale!

Student Workbook for Sale!




This workbook includes easy to use activity worksheets that both seniors and students can share together that greatly enhances the relationship between these two generations. The activities are designed to be photocopied for either the classroom or residential care home setting. The activities are designed to enable both generations to learn from one another and to discover each other’s life experiences.

If you would like to order your copy please email: or visit




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An Intergenerational Program for Intermediate Elementary Grades And Seniors Residing in Long Term Care “The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person”….Andy …

Source: About

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What is a Grandbuddy Program?


“When the old are not allowed to tell their story, the young grow up without history. If the young are not listened to, we have no future.”

Dr. Gunhild O. Hagestad

A Grandbuddy Program initiated by a long term care facility and an elementary school can create golden moments two generations. When a student and an older adult first realize that the other person, once a total stranger, is now important to them the relationship then starts to “matter”. The building of relationships do not just happen when two people are just put together. They require careful planning, time over the course of at least ten months of interaction and an understanding of one another. Residential patterns, activities and institutions such as schools and long term care facilities for the elderly lead to further segregation. Stereotypes flourish under conditions of inadequate contact and knowledge reinforced through the segregation of youth and elderly.

The goal of the Grandbuddy Program is not only for the students and older adult to learn from one another but through shared experiences and regular contact attitudes are changed. This holds true for influencing students’ attitudes toward “old people” living in a long term care.

The Grandbuddy Program involves intergenerational activities that promote cooperation, learning, and positive exchanges and interactions between two generations. The program purposely brings youth and seniors together to achieve specific program goals. Continue reading

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Introduction to the Grandbuddy Program for parents

The following letter is a template available for students, teachers and parents. This can be distributed at the beginning of the school year.



To Students and Parents,


<Name of School> will be working with <Name of Long Term Care Facility) to participate in the Grandbuddy Program. The purpose of the program is to foster relationships and understanding between the generations, and to nurture self-esteem for both the students and seniors. Goals from the school curriculum will also make each visit a learning experience for both generations.


The students will learn about aging, and the losses and disabilities associated with it. They will explore the “histories” of their senior Grandbuddy and compare childhoods with them. The students will learn to speak loudly, clearly and respectfully, and to listen attentively. The seniors will look forward to the Grandbuddy visits – especially those who do not have any grandchildren in the local area.


Throughout the program we ask that some rules be followed. These include:


  • Wear nametags
  • Using the hand-sanitizer before and after each visit
  • Wipe wet feet dry before entering the building
  • Ask permission from staff or teacher to visit their Grandbuddy in private rooms
  • Put away chairs after useWe would also welcome any parents who wish to volunteer at the monthly visits. Please contact the teacher or the facilitator if you are willing to volunteer or have any questions regarding the program.Contact:<Long Term Care Facilitator Contact Information>
  • <Teacher Contact Information>
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