Generations Coming Together
In a continued effort to enhance the quality of life for our senior beneficiaries, St. George’s Society introduced a new initiative earlier this year: Silver Buddies, a pen pal program with students at the British International School of New York (BIS-NY).
Research shows that pen pal programs can have a magnitude of benefits for seniors including reduced feelings of isolation, enhanced cognitive functioning and increased dexterity.* By partnering with BIS-NY on Silver Buddies, we are able to provide the opportunity for our beneficiaries to engage with younger generations. Additionally, this experience will help BIS-NY students improve their writing skills and creative thinking while expanding their world.
To initiate the correspondence, BIS-NY held a Silver Buddy matching workshop where students ranging between second and fifth grades reviewed short profiles on the beneficiaries. These included their country of origin, previous professions, interests and assorted personal facts. Following the workshop, each student wrote a letter introducing themselves to their new buddy. The recipients were extremely excited to receive a handwritten letter and while many of our seniors are not without physical limitations and ailments, they were quick to put pen to paper and reply to their letters.
As the end of the academic year swiftly approaches, our goal is for the buddies to exchange five or six letters before meeting at an afternoon tea celebration at the school.
St. George’s Society’s Beneficiary Program supports more than 100 seniors annually, enabling them to make ends meet, pay rent, buy medication and afford public transportation. Our financial assistance is supplemented by much-needed emotional support from our social workers, Mary Lamasney LMSW and Julie Rosenberg LMSW as well as through social events and activities that bring our beneficiary community together. Learn more about our Beneficiary Program.