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My Legacy Links Project:
Connecting Generations

Linking Teens and Seniors
for Student Volunteer Community Service

In recent decades, society has become segregated by age with age-segregated schools, parental work obligations and senior housing developments. The barriers between generations have robbed every age group of the benefits of inter-generational interaction. Unless we take steps to strengthen the links, the new ways people communicate will widen the gap irretrievably.

These are critical years. We’re losing one of our richest, most meaningful natural resources - the wisdom of seniors who fought in the war, dug deeply into life through the depression years and experienced the transition from horse and buggy days to our wired world. The wisdom of our elders are the wells from which we draw understanding, knowledge and warnings against repeating the evil elements of history.

Pairing seniors and youth for a mutual exchange of insights can be an enriching experience for both:

  • Imparting wisdom, values and insight to young people
  • Assisting seniors in the development of social media skills, e-mail & cell phone use
  • Helping to minimize isolation (possibly of both)
  • Revitalizing the sense of worth and ongoing value of seniors
  • Encouraging transgenerational communication and understanding
  • Facilitating opportunity for bonding in a special relationship

While individulas can get together on their own, or the project can be used in churches or other groups to bridge generation gaps, many schools recognize the project for the application of Student Community Service Volunteering hours.

For family use, the My Life Legacy Journals make a great tool for improving the quality of grandchild-grandparent visits.

Here’s how it works:

  1. For students wishing to use the My Legacy Links project for Community Service Hours, download the brochure, school poster and parental consent form from this page, take them to the school and obtain school approval.
  2. Find a senior with whom you wish to be paired for the duration of the project. (This may be someone you know (possibly a relative) or someone suggested, perhaps through a visit to a local nursing home, church or retirement facility.)
  3. Download the Parental Consent Form from www.mylegacylinks.com, Have it signed by a parent and submit it to your school guidance counsellor or the supervisor of your school's Student Volunteer Community Service Program.
  4. Commit to a number of hours or period of time you will spend with your partner. (Suggestion - 40 hours, one or two hours weekly, focusing on one or two journal topics in each meeting).
  5. Determine a regular weekly meeting time with your My Legacy Links partner.
  6. Determine a safe place (for both) to meet, i.e.) a library, retirement home or other public area. It could be in the home of the senior, but there must always be a third person available for assistance. Confirm the location with your parent and school.
  7. If he or she doesn't already have one, you may need to assist your senior partner to obtain a My Life Legacy Journal (either from a store or from http://www.bydesignmedia.ca/store) – either the Generic Edition or the Faith-based Edition which includes scriptures that pertain to each topic. Ask your senior partner which they would prefer. It will be the responsibility of the senior to pay for the Journal as it will be given to them to keep for their family, once completed. If you'd like to transfer the writing you do in the Journal to your computer after each meeting, CD editions of the Journals are available from http://www.bydesignmedia.ca/store.

What you can do with your time together...

  1. Assist your partner in the completion of a My Life Legacy Journal. This will not only give you an opportunity to benefit from the experience and wisdom of one who has “been there,” but will assist your partner in the preparation of a wonderful gift for his or her family.
  2. If they have the equipment, your partner may appreciate assistance in learning how to use e-mail, cell phones or any of the social media that will assist in communicating more effectively with his or her family in this age of technology.
  3. Encourage your senior partner to tell stories from his or her youth and share opinions on the topics in the My Life Legacy Journals. Then listen and write in the Journal what he or she has said.

What you can’t do...

  1. Don’t go in a car with your partner without parental knowledge and participation.
  2. Don’t meet anywhere where you are totally alone with your partner. Someone must be available for assistance if necessary.
  3. Don’t initiate communication with your partner at times other than those specified without parental knowledge and participation.
  4. Don’t exchange money or assist your partner with any financial affairs – such as banking.
  5. Don’t discuss the personal affairs of your partner with others in any way that could prove to be endangering.

Disclaimer: Teens must have parental concent to participate in the My Legacy Links project. The suggestions presented for this project do not constitute part of the curriculum of any program. The author, publisher and agents of My Legacy Links do not take responsibility for consequences that may ensue from relationships formed. This material is distributed with the understanding that it does not constitute legal or medical advice. See full disclaimer on Contact page.