Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Bridging the Generational Divide

Bridging the  Generational DivideOn Friday, March 13th, a group of Eisenberg Village seniors embarked on a short trip to Cleveland Charter High School (CCHS) to take part in one of the school's long-running traditions: Adopt-a-Grandparent Day. From the moment the residents arrived on the CCHS campus, they were warmly received by dozens of smiling students, eager to take part in the festivities.

Each senior was assigned to a group of students who would be their adopted grandchildren. Principal Cindy Duong warmly welcomed the seniors to the school. "Thank you all for joining us for this special event. Senior citizens have a lifetime of experience to share with our youth. For many of our students, chance interactions with seniors are few and far between. Each year, we host Adopt-a-Grandparent Day to give our students the chance to connect with you, as well as to give you an opportunity to forge a lifelong connection with some of the younger members in this community. We hope this program can offer new insights and help to bridge the gap between your generations."
The seniors and their newly adopted grandchildren were then given questionnaire forms to facilitate meaningful interaction. The groups discussed their family backgrounds, heritage, customs, memories, experiences, accomplishments, and interests.
The students wowed residents with a variety of performances. From Bollywood dancing and ukulele playing, to pop and lock dance routines and a drill and band performance, the students pulled out all the stops to ensure the seniors thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Each student also donated a homemade dish to share with the guests. As the seniors chose from a wide array of offerings, students helped by serving them the delicious dishes.
At the end of a very eventful day, Assistant Principal Stephanie Slaughter concluded the ceremony with a short closing statement. "We have hosted the Adopt-a-Grandparent program at Cleveland Charter School for more than two decades. Every year, we bring in seniors from the community so they can share their stories with our students, and our students can share theirs as well. We put on this event because we want these teenagers to understand and appreciate the important contributions made by our elders. Thank you."
In clear summation of the importance of the event, Principal Duong underlined the fact that these types of intergenerational interactions are necessary to strengthen the sense of community. "For our seniors, talking to a younger person is a welcome change of pace and a breath of fresh air. For the youngsters, the valuable lessons afforded by the seniors are a vital part in their upbringing."
"This wonderful event gives the youth the opportunity to show their appreciation for our community's seniors," Eisenberg Village activities director Caryl Geiger says. "It's touching to see how the seniors react to the compassion and genuine interest the students show them. Our residents simply glow with appreciation and joy."
Jewish Home resident Ernie Braunstein summed it up best: "I look forward to this event every year. Having the chance to bond with these wonderful kids is such a blessing. I love all my adopted grandchildren."