SPOTSWOOD–Creating an opportunity for seniors and fifth graders to connect, the Spotswood Office on Aging (OOA) and E. Raymond Appleby Elementary School co-launched the Cross Age Mentor Program (CAMP).
Spotswood Office on Aging Director Donna Faulkenberry said (CAMP) is still in its infancy but for now, the OOA has scheduled seniors to visit Appleby School on the last Thursday of each month during the students’ recess time.
“During [recess] time, they will teach the students a new skill or game, for example knitting, crocheting, quilting, chess, etc. We have some talented seniors who would love to pass on their knowledge to young minds that might otherwise not have exposure to these activities,” Faulkenberry said. “The other benefit is the social aspect of getting together and making new friends, realizing that despite age differences, we are all much more alike than society makes us out to be.”
Having co-launched CAMP this year, Faulkenberry said the OOA and the Spotswood Public School District have a wonderful working relationship, so when fourth grade teacher Angela Scuorzo and Principal Nancy Torchiano approached her about this program, she was immediately on board with it.
“There is so much value to bringing the generations together and I’m grateful to Angela and Nancy for this opportunity,” Faulkenberry said.
Torchiano said that Scuorzo presented the idea to her last spring and she thought it would be a great way for the school and its students to connect with the community in a whole new way.
“I believe that our seniors are a wonderful, untapped resource, who can share unique life experiences along with hands-on hobbies, crafts and skills. Our hope is that students and seniors alike will enjoy connecting and participating in this cross-generational program,” Torchiano said. “We are planning to pilot the program this year and in line with phase two of our social-emotional learning program, we hope to expand next year.”
Faulkenberry said as of now, the program has five seniors officially signed up, with many others expressing interest.
“Older residents have knowledge, experience and an opportunity to pass on a legacy,” Faulkenberry explained. “Younger residents bring energy, a different perspective and open minds ready to learn. Bringing them together is the ultimate win-win.”
Faulkenberry said senior residents can still sign up to be a mentor for the CAMP program.
“We’re starting on a smaller scale to work out the logistics but hope it will evolve into larger program with more participants and activities for the students as time goes on,” Faulkenberry said.
For information about the CAMP program, call 732-251-3432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermedia group.com.