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Feb 17, 2020

Programs Builds Connections Between Preschoolers and Seniors

Preschool

Thanks to a Federation Jewish Incubator Grant, preschoolers and seniors at the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center are developing enduring friendships. Through the Grand Friends project, 16 four-year-olds in the JCC’s Glenn Greenstein Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program share one-on-one time with participants in the Senior Adult Program when they meet every two weeks to read, work on art projects or simply chat together. The results are new, caring relationships that connect the generations. To watch a video about the program featured on CBS Miami, click here

Just a few months into Grand Friends both the seniors and the ECD pupils have built close connections with one another. Each bi-weekly get-together has powerful psychological effects. “Grand Friends is meaningful for both the children and the adults,” said Alper JCC Director of Adult Programs Ilene Primack. “It keeps our seniors excited and involved. Not all of them have grandchildren. So, it also keeps many from being isolated.”

Sandra Blasberg, Alper JCC’s Early Childhood Director, reported that the relationships between the preschoolers and seniors are so close that some of the children include their grand friends when they draw family portraits.

“We are bringing together the generations with intentionality,” Sandra explained. “Some of the children have grandparents who are close to them. Others don’t. They learn to appreciate older adults and incorporate them into their families. They think of them as caring friends, not old people.”

Jewish Incubator Grants provide support from the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign to organizations, synagogues, agencies and schools to develop innovative or impactful programs, services and projects that enrich Miami’s Jewish community. For more information about Jewish Incubator Grants, contact Bonnie Dawson, Outreach and Engagement Associate, at bdawson@gmjf.org or 786-866-8498.

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