The impact of creating and maintaining connections across generations is a powerful tool in developing and strengthening healthy communities. Intergenerational Day takes place every year on the first of June. At our House, we were lucky this year to have extra support on this day with the Pleasant Ponies volunteer team from Edelman Canada. This communications and marketing agency supports its staff in volunteering each year through their social responsibility program, The Little Give. On Intergenerational Day, these dedicated volunteers came to our House ready for a full day of engagement through volunteering.
At Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House, our rapport with Edelman Canada goes back to the summer of 2008. During this time, The Little Give program provided Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House with a media training kit, a series of high-quality promotional photos, and a new website to help us connect and engage with the community online. For our House, this turned out to be a very big give, as this volunteer-developed website was used by our House up until earlier this year. With this in our history, we welcomed the opportunity to work with Edelman again.
The team arrived early Friday morning, ready to start their volunteer work at our House, starting with making handmade cards. These cards would be used at various seniors events at our House, including a Canada Day BBQ special event, birthday cards for monthly birthday celebrations, and get well soon cards for seniors in need of some cheer during health troubles. For our seniors, a homemade card is a very meaningful gift.
At our House, we strive to use a decolonizing lens and honour the spirit of reconciliation. With this in mind, we focused on making our Canada Celebration inclusive and culturally appropriate for everyone accessing services at our House. With the blessing of a staff member from our Aboriginal team, we supported the team of Edelman volunteers in making bracelets featuring the colours of the traditional indigenous medicine wheel. These bracelets would be gifts to our seniors at our upcoming Canada Day BBQ celebration. It was our hope that in creating these bracelets we would show recognition and acknowledgement of the rich history of Canada prior to colonization.
In the afternoon, a team of children from our Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House preschool joined in making these cards and bracelets. With help from the Edelman volunteers, the children also painted rocks that would be made into affirmation stones. These stones would then be used as gifts at the upcoming World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event at our House. In this activity, it was wonderful to see the connections across generations, with adult volunteers assisting preschool children in making gifts for seniors.
As we moved into the afternoon, the Edelman volunteer team joined our seniors line dance activity. This program is very popular at our House and promotes health in our seniors both through physical activity and social connection. The Edelman volunteers were enthusiastic and open to learning the line dance routines, and soon the children from our daycare joined in. During the line dance session, some of the volunteers moved outside and helped clean up our preschool playground. Afterward, it was easy to see how much cleaner and more welcoming the space had become.
To see some of the moments captured from the day, please check out the photos on our Flickr page. Looking back, Intergenerational Day at our House was a success not just in terms of the items produced by the volunteers, but in the connections fostered between generations throughout the day.