Matching youth with seniors

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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New Heritage Models program heads for Memory Lane

RIVER HEBERT – Senior citizens and young people have plenty to gain from each other, and a new program at Heritage Models Museum aims to provide that opportunity.

The Seniors on Memory Lane Mentoring Program will bring youth and seniors together to spend time, make crafts, and learn from each other.

“We’re hoping to get seniors and high schools to donate two hours of their time a week,” said Amanda Wells, program co-ordinator at Heritage Models.

If all goes according to plan, the program will see Heritage Models opened during the winter months this year, as one of the activities the youth and seniors will get involved in is a new soup and sandwich bar at the facility.

Meanwhile, the museum has sheds full of artifacts not on the display floor, but are available to be used for activities such as treasure hunts, and plenty of craft-making ideas are in store for the pairings of youths and seniors.

Wells would like to see as many as 25 pairs in place by December, and the scheduling will be up to each group.

“We don’t have to all meet at once, and I don’t necessarily have to be here,” she said. “They can basically just work on their own schedules. Once they pair up, they can come in on whatever day works for them, and they are allowed to donate more time if they want to.”

The idea came from museum manager Rosemary Ulch, in an effort to make the museum more sustainable year-round.

The benefits for both youth and seniors are plentiful, according to Wells. Seniors get to share their knowledge, make new friends, stay active in their community, and learn new technology, while the students can gain skills and leadership qualities, fulfill volunteer hours, learn something new, and build references.

“I will plan activities and work with them, and they’re going to have choices of what they want to do,” she said. “We’ll have group sessions with crafts, and treasure hunts, plus we will have mentoring training sessions once a month.”

Seniors and youth from throughout Cumberland County are encouraged to get involved. For more information, contact Heritage Models at 251-2442 or hmodels@bellaliant.com.

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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