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June 5, 2007 > Seniors team with 6th grade 'pals'

Seniors team with 6th grade 'pals'

The pen is mightier than age

Through decades of life, people become repositories of wisdom and history. Absorbed in matured bodies, active minds are filled with ideas filtered through the perspective of rich experience. Unlike many communities around the world where many generations live in close proximity, local families are often dispersed and contact between generations is limited or nonexistent. Children's lives are often distant from older family members, separated by geography and/or living patterns. Impressions and the value of aged community members, solidified by outward appearances and media promotions intent on glorifying a culture of youth, minimize the significance of intergenerational contact. Normal curiosity and questions of identity and values are left to impersonal role models or peers with little experience of their own.

Pathways to Positive Aging is a collaborative effort of the City of Fremont Human Services and Tri-City Elder Coalition dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for seniors. Recognizing the energy, vitality and experience in the senior population, a penpal project was devised to link elementary school children with seniors, many frail and homebound. This two-way interaction created a positive flow of information between those blessed with youth and vigor and seniors sharing their experiences and the wisdom of age. Valentines Day cards and correspondence, St. Patrick's Day missives and spring communications were all part of the program.

This year's penpal project culminated with a luncheon, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, at the Fremont Senior Center on Tuesday, May 29 when "pals" lunched together. Amid presentations and speeches, penpals had the opportunity to chat and exchange ideas in person. Senior groups presented entertainment that demonstrated their prowess on the dance floor and the lively afternoon proved that the human spirit is alive and well with no regard to age.

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