From the Field: “I’m Getting as Much Out of This as the Kids Are!” Volunteering with Bridges: Lifelong Journeys

Lifelong Journeys participants at a holiday celebration in December.

Since September, Andrea has been traveling up the road to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School to facilitate the Bridges: Lifelong Journeys class that occurs during the school’s club period. A group of older adults and students convenes to learn from each other and discuss topics relevant to the lifespan — from technology, to finances, to career decisions, to aging. At Bridges Together, we like to think of Lifelong Journeys as a “toolkit” for “emerging adults” – those youth who are about to take the next step in their journey.

But it’s not just the students who walk away with new insights; the senior volunteers also leave each session with a takeaway or two. We recently met with a longtime Bridges volunteer (she had previously volunteered with 4th graders in Sudbury participating in Bridges: Growing Together) who couldn’t contain her enthusiasm for the program: “I’m getting as much out of this as the kids are. I do love these people. I love these kids. And I love the other seniors! I learn from all of them,” she said.

The lesson on “resilience,” in particular, affected the high schoolers and seniors alike. According to a volunteer, “We know we are resilient because of where we are on life’s journey. But perhaps we have a tendency to not focus on why and what events brought about our resilience. But it’s not just the ‘resilience’ lesson – I’ve actually learned a lot from all of the lessons. I’m so excited for how Bridges is spreading!”

Good luck with exams!

Because Lincoln-Sudbury students have mid-term exams this week, our senior volunteers have assembled “care packages” for them to let them know that they are thinking of them and cheering them on! The seniors wrote encouraging notes on the Gift to This World poem that we often reference. (Topped off with a bag of Valentine sweets!) We look forward to resuming our regular Bridges sessions with them after exams.

Interested in bringing Bridges: Lifelong Journeys to a high school or college near you? Contact Intergenerational Facilitator Julie Shaw for more information.

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