On June 1st, students in Anglophone North School District celebrated Intergenerational Day Canada with seniors in their communities. Led by their Community Engagement Coordinator, Audrey Ronalds, supported by Bathurst High School (BHS) teacher Shannon Lavigne, and motivated by Mayor Kim Chamberlain, having officially proclaimed June 1st as Intergenerational Day Canada in Bathurst, students participated in a variety of interactions with seniors. The activities included a picnic organized by Terry Fox Elementary School, a clean-up outside a senior complex organized by Bathurst High School, fresh produce donated by “Chaleur Eat Fresh” delivered to seniors by Superior Middle School students, a visit to a senior home to share poetry, songs and cookies from Janeville Elementary School students, and a delivery of framed art displays for each resident at Melanson Care Home by the students from the Positive Learning Centre.
A highlight of the celebration was the request from Sharon MacKenzie, Executive Director of the i2i Intergenerational Society, to use a design created by three BHS students, Avery, Kearsey and Nathan, as their national logo. “When designing our logo, we chose the tree to represent growth, along with the twisted trunk that really symbolizes intergenerational relationships and the connections we all have. The faces in the tree’s branches were used to show how the different generations come together to do amazing things”, said the students, “The colors of the leaves melding together in the middle of the tree was an obvious visual “mixing”; while the faces are more hidden, encouraging the viewers to look deeper into the design. The circular nature of our design speaks to the mutual benefit of all the people involved, a win-win for everyone. We hope that you can all appreciate our work of “heart”.
In describing the intergenerational initiatives, BHS teacher Shannon Lavigne said “What I have witnessed over the years is how very important all these interactions are for our seniors, no matter how small. Loneliness is a very real issue for seniors, whether their relatives don’t live near or Covid restrictions have kept them away, or simply that everyone is so busy with their daily lives that our elderly often get forgotten. A simple visit means so much to them, more than any gift that you could give, especially when that visit is from a child! There are so many valuable lessons and values that can be shared by our seniors, they truly are a resource that we don’t tap into nearly enough. Intergenerational relationships are truly win-win, with so much to gain by both parties.” Lavigne continued, “I am so very proud to be part of the group that created the logo that was adopted nationally. It was a true work of heart and the thought and care that went into the process of developing this logo was inspirational to me! Audrey does such AMAZING work in our community, and she is a real champion for seniors. I never hesitate to help when I can as I know her heart is always in the right place.”
For more information on experiential learning opportunities in New Brunswick, interested employers and students can check out more success stories at https://futurenewbrunswick.ca/.