Caléo Twinning Project: bridging the generational gap


At Le Groupe Maurice, we’ve always been passionate about addressing the challenges of aging. Intergenerational initiatives are ideal opportunities to demystify each other’s realities and foster mutual understanding. So, when the teachers at De La Broquerie Elementary School in Boucherville suggested a twinning project between Caléo Residence and their 4th-grade students, the residence enthusiastically accepted. Christine Patenaude, Recreation Manager at Caléo, kindly shared the experience with us!

Discovering Connections of the Heart

“The project’s objective was to cultivate values of kindness and openness toward older adults in 4th-grade students, while also stimulating them with extracurricular projects.

 At Caléo, this initiative was welcomed with joy! Indeed, not all residents are grandparents or have the opportunity to regularly see their grandchildren. Whether through their life experiences or stories, residents have a lot to offer, and this project was a unique occasion to foster intergenerational exchanges.

 My associate proposed the initiative within the residence and began recruiting volunteers for the twinning program; the goal being to pair each resident with 2 or 3 children for a total of 70 students. In the end, 30 residents answered the call.

 The teachers then came to meet the participating residents to finalize the project and answer their questions. The pairing of students and seniors was subsequently decided in collaboration with the teachers and the Recreation Manager.

 The students and residents exchanged letters before their first meeting in October. Subsequently, a monthly meeting was organized. This required meticulous planning involving every department at Caléo: 70 students in a residence doesn’t go unnoticed!

 At each meeting, the food service prepared snacks, the maintenance team took care of the rooms and the activities team organized appealing activities for all. Despite the workload, seeing the positive impact of this project on all participants was truly divine.

 When I returned from maternity leave in January 2024, I was told that I would be impressed by the energy of these visits, and I must say that I wasn’t disappointed. At the beginning of the year, we had to cancel one visit due to the weather. However, despite the cold and the 30-minute walk to the residence, the students still insisted on coming.

 After consulting with the teachers, we decided to organize a last-minute meeting, which didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the residents – quite the opposite! Most of them were eagerly waiting for the children in the entrance hall to welcome them and help remove their winter clothes.

 Even residents who weren’t part of the twinning project had come to see the students. And when two residents arrived late that day, we could already read the concern in the children’s faces that they might not appear. These intergenerational encounters were uplifting and heartwarming, filling the air with joy and emotion!”

Thank you, Christine, for this precious account! Twinning projects like this one promote the sharing of knowledge and life experiences, as well as a culture of respect for others. Human relationships, specifically intergenerational ones, are an essential pillar of our modern society, allowing us to break down unconscious biases and prejudices.

By encouraging these interactions, we contribute to preserving cultural heritage while stimulating empathy and solidarity in both older and younger individuals. Thus, investing in such projects not only strengthens the social fabric but also prepares future generations to be more respectful, compassionate and aware citizens of the world.

If you’d like to learn more about the twinning experience, we also invite you to read the article by Rose-Aimée Automne T. Morin published earlier this year in LaPresse.