Building Relationships Across Generations

by | Dec 20, 2019 | Our Stories, Learning, Community

There are many things that make Rashi special, but one in particular is the multigenerational program with its neighbor, Hebrew Senior Life, NewBridge on the Charles. With its close proximity, Rashi students have opportunities to visit the residents at NewBridge throughout the year by simply walking across the street. 

From working on crafts to celebrating holidays to enjoying music and storytelling together, one thing is certain — young and old participants alike benefit from this enriching symbiotic relationship. 

Recently our Grade 2 students had the pleasure of visiting NewBridge residents to make Chanukah decorations together. The beautiful mosaic menorahs and sparkly snowflakes adorned hallways, doorways and windows and ignited the holiday spirit for all those who were present. Among the smiles and laughter, it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the students or the residents!

Upon leaving NewBridge, one student looked up and pointed at a window that displayed the newly created decorations. “We just made those!” she shouted proudly. Her peers looked up and nodded, satisfied with their work. 

“When you pair seniors and students together, all of a sudden there is a purpose and a meaning for their lives and their stories… and you see kids for whom their interactions are life changing,” said Lynda Doctoroff Bussgang, director of The Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program. Nearly a decade ago, Lynda saw a unique opportunity to partner with The Rashi School. Through the years, the rich connections and engaging programs between youth and seniors have been greater than anticipated. 

One such program is The Rashi Mitzvah Makers. Founded in 1995, this is one of the most successful multigenerational programs between Rashi and NewBridge. The Mitzvah Maker program is a yearlong multigenerational program comprised of Rashi students in Grades 2-5 and residents at NewBridge. 

The goals of the program are to nurture multigenerational relationships, educate students of the needs and talents of the elderly community, create opportunities for student leadership, and build collaborative skills through lunch planning meetings and program visits at NewBridge.

Through their experiences, The Rashi Mitzvah Makers have gained a deep personal awareness and self-transformation, and they have also made a significant direct impact on the residents at NewBridge.

For more information on Rashi’s Multigenerational community, visit our website.