- That seniors and children in every community build special friendships by respecting, trusting, and supporting one another.
- To provide resources for building intergenerational relationships between youth and seniors, thus improving the quality of life for both groups.
- To meet the needs for those students who do not have grandparents within the area;
- To allow students to spend quality time with senior volunteers within a school environment, thus bridging the gap between the two generations;
- To provide an opportunity for senior volunteers to participate in a valuable and rewarding experience with the youth of the community.
The Seniors for Kids Society is a unique non-profit organization governed under a board of directors. A program coordinator manages the senior volunteers and students, and works directly with school staff. Necessary materials are provided for matched groups who work within a structured, time-limited, and site-based program.
Senior volunteers act as representatives of the organization. The organization actively seeks the volunteers’ input on programs, policies and procedures and organization concerns. As representatives of the community-at-large, these senior volunteers actively participate at all levels of the organization, ensuring that services are responsive to the needs of the students and members. Training and supervision is provided to ensure that all senior volunteers understand their roles, responsibilities and limitations and are able to undertake them in an appropriate and safe manner.
*Volunteering time is very flexible for a senior’s schedule. Time spent with a student may vary from one to three hours per week or whatever fits into the senior’s schedule.
The Seniors for Kids Society began as a pilot program called the “Cochrane Grandparent Program” in 1997 at Holy Spirit School. Seven senior volunteers mentored Grade 4 students as a way of developing intergenerational relationships. From this initial start, the concept evolved, into both one-to-one and classroom grandparents, spreading to more grades, and allowing relationships to mature for up to two years. Other Cochrane elementary and middle schools joined the following school year as the interest grew. The program name was changed and registered as Seniors for Kids Society in 1998 as a way of identifying for a wider group what the program was about. Since then other western Rockyview schools have joined as more senior volunteers stepped forth at various locations.