Grandparents Day & Importance of Intergenerational Programming in Schools

As a child, I did not know the significance of having my great-grandmother, or as I call her, “Granny,” as such an influential figure in my life. She loved and cared for me and never failed to step up when my parents were unable to care for me.

She went above and beyond to make sure I always had everything I would need to succeed, and Grandparent’s Day was the one day of the year where I felt I could honor her.

I began celebrating Grandparent’s Day in elementary school when I brought my Granny and several other grandparents to school every year for lunch visits and activities. By the time I reached high school, I served on the student council and was responsible for planning our grandparents and older adults luncheon each year.

This was a unique opportunity for me to not only honor my Granny but also recognize the contributions of all the older adults within our local community and encourage my peers to do the same. From retired teachers, grandparents, and school board members, all the older adults have given a part of themselves to the young people in our community.

Getting the opportunity to meet and serve lunch to the older adults gave students a renewed sense of purpose and helped me develop a passion for public service. One day per year may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But this intergenerational program allowed us to recognize the impact of serving others for the first time in our lives. It also gave us the opportunity to connect with older adults, a population with whom many young people do not usually interact.

I encourage you all to use Grandparent’s Day as a day to recognize the contributions of the older adults in your communities and encourage intergenerational connections between young and older people.

This is more important now than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to be more disconnected and socially isolated than before, and we must lean on one another for support.

This year, Grandparent’s Day is Sunday, September 11th. Generations United provides intergenerational programs and activity ideas at GrandparentsDay.org so, you can #DoSomethingGrand this Grandparent’s Day!

About the Author

Chelsi Rhoades is the Public Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at Generations United where she focuses on advancing public policy and advocacy efforts surrounding intergenerational policy and programs, coordinating Generations United’s Policy Committee, and educating policymakers on issues impacting older adults and children. Prior to joining Generations United, Chelsi graduated from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs with a degree in public policy and economics and interned at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO).

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Generations United

Generations United

National nonprofit that improves children, youth and older adults' lives through intergenerational programs and policies. Why? Because we're stronger together.