|Contact: ||Gwen Baugh-Conlin|
In its third year, the Grandparent Program at the John J. Kane Regional Center in Glen Hazel has brightened the lives of residents, staff members and children alike.
The Grandparent Program is highlighted by monthly visits from children, ages 9 months to 7 years old. The children visit residents on the Alzheimer’s Unit at Glen Hazel.
“The cross-generational interactions are very special for all those involved,” said Erica Acklin, whose sons George, 5, and Teddy, 4, are Grandparent Program volunteers. “Many wonderful things can be said about the benefits of this program for both the residents and the children. As a parent I believe this experience is a valuable building block for instilling early on the importance of serving our community.”
A typical visit lasts approximately 90 minutes. The children and residents greet each other. A warm-up exercise, songs, games, crafts and a reading session all may be part of a visit. Snacks are served, and at the conclusion of the visit, the participants sing a “good-bye song.”
The residents often enjoy the stimulation of helping the children practice their numbers, letters, colors, shapes and other activities such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and nursery rhymes.
Two special events are held annually as part of the program – an Easter egg hunt in the spring and a Halloween costume party in the fall.
“The Grandparent Program has been a huge success at Kane Glen Hazel,” said Gwen Baugh-Conlin, Volunteer Coordinator at the regional center. “The residents truly enjoy interacting with the young children. They look forward to each visit and especially the Easter and Halloween events. The children are enthusiastic and excited, and they are learning valuable life lessons.”
Acklin said both residents and the children benefit from the program.
“For the residents I hope the experience is a bright spot in their day, and the interactions spark happy memories and puts smiles on their faces,” Acklin said. “Opportunities for volunteerism can be limited for very small children, but the relationship we have developed with Glen Hazel and the wonderful work that Gwen Baugh-Conlin provides has become the perfect fit. We look forward to the years to come as well as the wonderful smiles and laughs along the way.”
For more information, contact Gwen Baugh-Conlin, Volunteer Coordinator at Kane Glen Hazel, at 412.422.6800.