It’s time to party

An end of project celebration is an important piece of a successful GrandPals Project. Not only does it provide a sense of closure for all involved in the project, but it also provides a strong motivation to students as they are working on their writing, journals, developing speeches, or working on other pieces of media. The important thing for organizers to recognize, is that this end of project celebration can look very different, depending on who is organizing the project, the seniors and students involved, or facilities that are available for use. Here is some input from those who have been part of a GrandPals celebration:

I think it’s important to have a celebration because my parents didn’t have a chance to meet my GrandPal. My GrandPal met my little brother and I got to meet some of her family too. My group went up to say hi to my GrandPal and we were talking for a little bit and I got to meet her daughter and her daughter said, ¨Thank you very much for talking with my mother¨.     Hannah Osmond – Student

As long as the crowd isn’t too big and people can interact with one another the celebration is great. I found the best part about it was getting to meet and greet the parents. They would ask you questions almost like the kids.
Cecil Rowe – Senior

The changes in my daughter have been related to how she interacts with people in society. She has much more appreciation for the seniors in our community. And she’s much more willing and wanting to help. Something as simple as opening a door for a senior in a public place, in a shop, just stopping and saying hello. Offering to help – those are the types of changes I’ve seen in my daughter – it’s just been wonderful.     Jeremy Curry – Parent

The end of year celebration is very important, both for students and honestly for myself as well, as a staff member, coordinating it – and the seniors… I think it’s very important for the seniors to see the work that the students have put into the presentation.

A great celebration involves everybody that was involved, plus other people there to celebrate with the students and with the seniors. I think it’s really nice when the family of the seniors can be there. And see how their parents or grandparents are being honored; at the same time having the parents of the students there to celebrate with the students and just be amazed by what their children have been able to accomplish.     Lynda Brown – Teacher

We did something on a lower scale, because our GrandPals are confined to the residence they are in. We did a board game day. It came out in various discussions that they enjoyed playing games, so we found out what our GrandPals´ favorite games were and we brought those in along with some snacks. We had an hour of fellowship that was low key – just to solidify their relationships, and just let the conversation be easy – they loved that. That was our celebration, and then they got to present their lifebooks and they read them with their GrandPals. Some of them, because their memories are not that strong, didn’t realize that this was what was being created, and they were moved to tears by such a great and awesome gift.
Kristie Walraven – Teacher

I think it is really important to have that celebration piece. Even if you did the program through technology, it is really important that the seniors and the students meet face to face. They have built this relationship and so now they want to be able to in person. It’s kind of the icing on the cake, to see it all come together like that.
Cecilia Vespa – Community Librarian

The celebration piece is so important, not only for the kids, but the seniors, because you then connect the two groups together and actually put a face to the letter. It has been awhile since we did it. It was last spring. We are still talking about it. We are still asking about the kids, the pictures.      Anna Hardy – Program Manager – Long Term Care

The end of the project celebration is important, whether it be a small celebration or a large gala. And I believe that the reason it is important is because it validates the student’s efforts and it celebrates the elders that they have gotten to know. And it also in our case when we involved parents who came out to see their children, do their presentations and to view the work that they had created. It gave the parents an incredible sense of pride in their children. They couldn’t believe that they could create what they had created, and that they could present in such a mature manner. Their pride was really soaring that night, and it was beautiful to be part of that with them.      Paola Argentino – Principal