On November 27, 2020, some very special friendships were formed at the Maison Bon Samaritain (MBS) home in Gros Morne, Haiti. Grade school children from the nearby School of Jesus and Mary (Lekòl Jezi-Mari) presented artwork, drawings, and notes — which they had created for the occasion — to the residents of MBS, who are elderly and disabled.
The intergenerational experience was especially poignant given the extreme isolation the MBS residents have been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides enjoying the occasion to share songs, dance, and treats, the residents lost no time offering their life experiences with the students, including advice on the need to study hard and treat their teachers and others with respect. “Be respectful because you will be leaders someday,” confided one.
The kick-off of “Forever Friends” was made possible by a grant from Sherry Power, director of FOREVER FRIENDS. Established in 1998, FOREVER FRIENDS Inc. is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is rooted in the value of intergenerational relationships. The organization strives to bring children and elders together in various settings, so both groups learn from and about each other, form friendships, and break down age-related stereotypes.
Since that initial meeting in November, the students and MBS residents have met four additional times, with additional exchange meetings planned each month. The residents start clapping and dancing as soon as they see the students. Students bring music and song, read stories for the residents, share jokes, and dance. There is much joy in these gatherings!
Students performing for MBS residents