SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Once a month, the second and third graders at East Syracuse Elementary School travel three blocks to the Heman Street Apartments to meet up with the Keener Seniors Lunch Program and learn lessons that will hopefully last a lifetime.
“It’s super fun because every month there’s different activities, never the same activity,” said second grader Felicity Knapp. “We only go once a month.”
For this week’s Valentine’s Day activity, the students teamed up to see how high they could stack little heart candies. The interaction is more important than the actual tasks.
ESM started looking for ways to grow learning beyond the walls of the schools 14 years ago. Teachers Denise McGinley and Mary Albanese earned county-wide honors for inter-generational programming the very first year.
“The kids build relationships with the seniors each month and then they go outside in the community and see them and they just love it,” said Mary Albanese, a second grade teacher.
The visits usually end with dessert, with the young visitors serving their mentors, then grabbing a snack for themselves.
The teachers think it’s a model that could work in any community. It can open channels of communications from one generation to another.
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