Program helping to bridge the generations

Students and seniors share skills through physical activity sessions

Shadam McDonald and Stella Bodley-Scott assemble fruit spears during the nutrition portion of the iPal health fair at Marigold elementary. The iPal program brings Grade 5 leaders together with older adults and neighbouring Grade 10 high school students. In the top row from left is Spectrum student Kieran Wakeham

The last time Jonas Carvalho worked with youth was more than 25 years ago when he coached soccer.

This fall Carvalho revisited a leadership role with youth, as he worked with the students of Spectrum Community school and Marigold elementary. It was part of the District of Saanich’s new Intergenerational Physical Activity Leadership (iPal). The initiative encourages physical activity while breaking down intergenerational barriers within the immediate community.

“Apparently, I learned, the older generation as well as the younger generation has a preconceived notion about each other,” Carvalho said. “iPal has changed my perceptions about students.”

Carvalho came into the iPal program with a group of volunteers from the Silver Threads service for seniors located at Hampton Park. They matched up with Grade 10 student leaders from Spectrum and Grade 5 student leaders from Marigold. Representatives from all three groups met daily at Marigold for six weeks this fall to run through activities and exercises.

Members from the Marigold-based program met there on Dec. 10 for a final celebration at the iPal Health Fair. Among the activity stations the Marigold and Spectrum students rotated through was a pickle-ball court, a heart rate measuring workshop, a chair exercise workshop and a nutrition workshop.

In the nutrition station, Spectrum students led Marigold students through the importance of eating a healthy portion of vegetables at most meals, followed by the creation of a veggie and fruit skewer.

Saanich recreation programmer Mena Westhaver was introduced to the idea for the program during a seminar at the University of Victoria. Doctoral candidate Jennifer McConnell, who is studying in social dimensions of health, gave a presentation about a similar project she had set up between Cordova Bay elementary school students and older adults from the attached Cordova Bay 55 Plus.

Cordova Bay was partnering students and seniors for a digital photography project, a model McConnell adapted to focus on physical activity. That’s been happening at Cordova Bay since 2013.

Westhaver partnered with McConnell and it’s been a smash hit, she said.

“This year was a big expansion. We added in the Grade 10 students and it’s gone fabulous,” McConnell said.

At Cordova Bay, they brought in Claremont secondary Grade 10s. A third program was successful this year between Campus View elementary and  Mount Douglas secondary, and older adults from the Luther Court Society.

“The Grade 10s really brought the program to a new place, their availability to lead the Grade 5s during daily lunch hours really helped the daily activities go well,” McConnell said.

Many of the older adults have a schedule busy with other things and had a hard time getting to the elementary schools everyday.

“I’d do it again,” said Grade 10 Spectrum student Cory Stashewsky. “The [Grade 5s] responded well to us, I think it gives them someone they can look up to who’s not an adult.”

And from the Grade 10 perspective, Stashewsky said it was a nice experience getting to know the different people in his community.

 

“We worked well with the older adults, it was good to work with people of different ages. I recommend this program for anyone.”

 

 

Just Posted

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Saanich councillor ‘chose pragmatism over politics’ in opposing EDPA replacement

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau acknowledged her opposition shocked many of her supporters

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

Third annual fair where cars are banned goes off without a hitch

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read