In her many years with community schools, ASD-N Community Engagement Coordinator Audrey Ronalds saw momentum grow in leaps and bounds with intergenerational projects within schools in the Bathurst and Janeville area. Most recently, Jacquet River has become a community partner with intergenerational projects. Over the past two years, isolation and loneliness have been felt by many seniors, and to be able to support them through visitation and connection has not only been a rewarding experience for students, but also an eye opening one for educators and community leaders.
Over a year ago, Sharon Mackenzie, i2i Intergenerational Executive Director, reached out to Ronalds requesting help with bringing awareness to communities about Intergenerational Day Canada on June 1st and together they planned a successful day with schools and the senior community participating in a number of events. On Intergenerational Day Canada, residents at the Robert L Knowles Veterans Unit at Villa Chaleur shared friendship bracelets with Superior Middle School students, and the mayor and council proclaimed the day in perpetuity. The logo designed by our three Bathurst High School (BHS) students, which was nationally adopted and celebrated, was also showcased. The visit with seniors had a positive impact on everyone involved. Many stories were shared, including one by 97-year-old war bride, Briddy Payne, when she shared her powerful story of World War II with students who were naturally engaged by her wit and charm. The past two years were difficult for Briddy, and many other seniors due to social time coming to a standstill as a result of the pandemic restrictions. Visitation from students brightened the day for many seniors in the community.
“The highlight of my 31 years with education is being able to share in my passion for seniors, but more importantly share in the many talents, historical events, community spirit, and getting to know our community members who continually teach me, along with our students and teachers, from where we have evolved.” said Ronalds.
For more information on experiential learning opportunities in New Brunswick, interested employers and students can check out more success stories at https://futurenewbrunswick.ca/.