Bridging the Gap
Caledon Public Library in partnership with Robert F. Hall Secondary School recently facilitated this intergenerational memoir writing program. On a weekly basis, high school students met with local seniors’ interviewing, documenting and writing their stories. A celebration was held at the end of the program with friends and family present as the students presented life-story albums to the seniors.
The following story and pictures are the awesome work of Isabella Nigro and Emily Janisse….
Bridging the Gap
Isabella and Emily’s Story
When the students of Robert F. Hall gathered together for the first day of the Bridging the Gap program, everyone was already very eager to begin. We all knew this was going to be an incredible experience – there were so many conversations about the coming weeks, and so much preparation.
Everyone involved was dedicated to the program from the very beginning.
From the very first week, there was so much engagement between the students and the seniors.
There was, of course, some shyness, which is expected between people who are meeting for the very first time. But as we observed the different groups, we saw that there were so many smiles and eager conversation happening even on the first day.
That open and friendly atmosphere never changed throughout the program. You could often hear laughter throughout the library as stories were exchanged and jokes were told.
There was never a dull moment going on in the library – a lot of the seniors and students shared the same sense of humor.
If you walked around the library and chose to sit down at any group, it was very easy to be captivated by the stories that the seniors told. It didn’t matter if they were big lifetime events or small recollections – it is a part of their story, and knowing that they have lived every memory, and that it shapes who they are, makes it hard to stop listening.
One of the most amazing things that happened during the Bridging the Gap program was that the students began to share their own stories, too. They offered them, bit by bit, to the seniors they spoke to, through a simple “something like that happened to me”, or “there was this one time …”
And with all the laughter and all the attentiveness, we saw so much understanding.
As we watched these stories being told, not only by the seniors but by the students, we realized: this is Bridging the Gap. We may not be at the same place in our lives, but the difference between us is not so great. We live life through our own eyes, and walk its path on different courses, but we are all living it together. This is the human experience – our lives are our own, yet we are all part of the journey.
On behalf of everyone who participated in the program, we feel incredibly honored to be a part of this amazing experience, where have learned and grown so much.
We can never thank you enough.