Join us for a Family Stories through Art workshop!

tall-tree-hijpegSharon Santillo, who helped launch the Bridges: Our Stories program, will be leading a six-week Family Stories through Art workshop for adults who would like to collect and document family stories.

Beginning October 16, the sessions will be held every Thursday evening (through November 13) from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Green Meadow School in Maynard, Massachusetts.

The cost, which includes ten hours of art and writing instruction, all materials, and a published book, is $195.00 per participant. (Participants can have books copied to present as gifts.)

978-897-8021 EXCEL to sign up. Click here for the FSTA program flyer.

Connecting with long-distance grandchildren

Staying connected with your grandchildren who live far away from you can be challenging. Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder, particularly when your grandchildren are young and you feel like an unknown visitor in their home. Closer To The Kids could provide some help. It is the first website designed to make it easier and even fun for long-distance families to to remain connected by offering weekly ideas on engaging in virtual playdates, updates on the latest technology for keeping in touch, helpful travel tricks, creative snail mail surprises, and more. The current web page offers “6 Helpful Parenting Tips When Visiting Long-Distance Grandparents.” For more information on this potentially useful intergenerational tool, check out www.closertothekids.com.

Remembering Dottie A.

This summer, Dottie A passed on. Recognizing how much Dottie enjoyed the Bridges program, her family chose to have donations made in her memory to Bridges Together Inc.

Dottie A.

Dottie A.

Dottie was a longtime volunteer in the Bridges program in Sudbury. For several weeks twice a year, she would enter an elementary school classroom along with seven other volunteers.  Dottie would share stories from her life, listen to the children’s experiences and then collaborate on a group project. Slowly, over the weeks, seeds of friendship and compassion were sown.

Andrea Weaver, BT Executive Director, reflected:

Personally, I am so grateful for Dottie’s dedication and faithfulness to the Bridges program.  She was a firm believer in our work.  Her interest and enthusiasm provided some of the fuel that empowered me to grow the program from Sudbury to what is now a vibrant nonprofit, charitable organization. Today, we are training teachers and senior staff members across the country on why we need intergenerational programs, how to create effective programs, and how to implement our award-winning approach for children in grades K-8.”Dottie knew that something magical and important happens when older “seasoned” adults and children come together to share their viewpoints, knowledge, energy and wisdom… hearts and minds are changed; society benefits.

We are grateful to Dottie’s many family members and friends who showed their support for her by donating to our organization.  Dottie’s spirit lives on in our hearts.

Calling all volunteers over the age of 60!

If you would like to volunteer with children in a Bridges program:

  • Burlington, MA is starting Bridges: Growing Together in October in the fourth grade.  Please contact Katie at bercury@bpsk12.org or 781-273-7057.
  • Maynard, MA is starting our Bridges: Our Stories program with children in grades K-3 after school on Thursdays starting Oct. 2.  Please contact Kerry at healyweeks@gmail.com or 617-596-1559. This program is generously sponsored by the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation.
  • Sudbury, MA is starting Bridges: Growing Together in October in the fourth grade.  If you are new to the Sudbury program, please contact SudburyBridges@gmail.com (Please note: Returning volunteers will be contacted in the next week).

The commitment is for about one hour per week for approximately six weeks.  Experience Bridges and join the 10,000 people whose lives have been enriched by the Bridges programs!

Fun Learning Activites to Do With the Children in Your Life

STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is an innovative program that enables both teachers and families to interact with students to stimulate and sustain interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, particularly in the middle school grades where interest in these subjects tends to dramatically decline. Grandparents, parents, teachers or other concerned adults introduce the “Weekly Stem Challenge” to their children who then work on the exercises with the adults in their lives. The activities are designed to stimulate family-student engagement. Research has demonstrated unequivocally that parents’ interest and involvement in their child’s learning is positively related to not only his/her academic success, but also to his/her career choice. The “STEM ACTIVITY App” created and supported by Wheelock College in Boston can provide a unique way to increase intergenerational opportunities, as many older adults have a wealth of experience in the scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical fields. Maybe you might become the STEM ACTIVITY expert on your block. Take a look for yourself at stem-app@wheelock.edu.

 

Let the Public Play… in an Art Gallery

“The Cambridge Art Council Gallery turns into a fully interactive play space for all generations. As part of the City’s initiative to build a more playful city, and in large and small scale, Let the Public Play inspires us to make play a more integral part of daily life in Cambridge [and beyond].” *  One of our advisors, Professor Emeritus Ed Klugman, was an advisor on this fantastic project. To learn more or play in the gallery, visit their website http://www.cambridgeusa.org/events/listing/let-the-public-play

The next networking event for people committed to intergenerational programming will be held at Let the Public Play on Wednesday, June 11 from noon – 2 PM.

Fun STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Activities for Families & Teachers

The STEM Activity provides engaging, family-friendly activities in science, technology, engineering and math. This free web app fosters positive STEM-related interactions between elementary-age students and their families. The activities are designed to increase a child’s excitement about STEM now, and to develop their interest in a STEM career in the future.

The STEM activities start this week, sign up now!

Teachers, use the STEM Activity App to introduce a STEM Challenge of the Week to your students. For this weekly challenge, students take home the activity and engage with their families, and then share their experiences and discoveries back in the classroom. The activities are fun, link to related STEM careers, and encourage students to reflect on how STEM connects with their everyday lives.

Families, sign up for the STEM Activity App to have the activities are your fingertips!
The Wheelock College Aspire Institute developed the STEM Activity App in collaboration with faculty experts, college and high school students, and STEM organizations.

Remember to sign up now to receive all the activities.

Out of the mouths… of grandmothers

Two grandmothers, who volunteer in Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together, recently shared some of their thoughts on the program.

Liz wrote:

I’ve been volunteering with the Bridges program for five years. It’s a very structured inter-generational curriculum that has been adopted by many schools. Bridges goals and objectives have been coordinated with the new Common Core curriculum.

I have to tell you, as a grandparent and a baby-boomer, I have been blown away by my experience with Bridges! Fourth graders and seniors talk in small groups about schools then and now, about family heritage and traditions, about how we spend our free time, and what age we would most want to be, if we could choose any age we like. And to my great delight, the children not only listen, they ask questions and get involved. They share their own stories, too, and often our conversations in class begin a dialog with their own grandparents. It is truly a win/win experience for all those involved.

 

Anne wrote:

It has been fun doing the actual Bridges program and I think all the participants have benefited from the exposure.  It is definitely a program that draws people together and that is such an important thing in today’s fractured society.  
Thank you for your efforts
Find out how you can get involved in a program or build a Bridges program in your community.  Contact Andrea today at 978-400-6813 or Andrea@BridgesTogether.org.