Last month I shared an email from a tremendous high school senior in California, Carrie Ryan. I asked Carrie to send me updates about her initiative, Bridging the Gap Between Generations. Carrie is graduating from her high school this month but she’s leaving behind an amazing legacy. Carrie tells her story below:
So, because of the excitement around the starting of my organization, I forgot to tell you both how I was propelled into this idea for Bridging the Gaps!
My grandfather, one of the most important and influential people in my life, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As difficult as it was for me, I found myself drawn to take care of him. Even when he was put in a home, I found every way possible to be near him.
I constantly volunteered at Monte Vista Grove Homes, where he was living at the time, and not only visited with him, but with the other residents as well. I started to realize how happy I was surrounded by them and how happy I was making them. The relationship was mutually beneficial on both sides!
So, I started to work at Monte Vista Grove Homes as Activities Coordinator. Throughout my years of volunteering and working, I developed a large interest and passion for aging. Simultaneously, my English teacher, Ed Raines, who is quite the visionary, came up with a new course Aging in Literature. Although I was extremely excited about the course, many of my classmates did not share my interest, and with the low number of people signed up, the course did not run.
Luckily though, with my passion and interest in aging and my teacher’s willingness to run the course with me independently, I added Aging in Literature to my schedule as an independent study. Throughout this past semester of my senior year, I have read “W;t” by Margaret Edson, “King Lear,” “The Remains of the Day,” “The Sandbox,” and “The Death of Ivan Illych.”
This course has transformed my life and outlook. With the help of Mr. Raines, who has encouraged me and inspired me to continue with my passion and interest for the elderly, my independent study has spurred me into creating Bridging the Gap Between Generations. It has been with my understanding of issues surrounding aging in the literature I have read that I have been able to find the knowledge and understanding necessary to create my organization.
Now with Bridging the Gaps, working with the eldelry will become a service learning component to the school. Students from technology classes and even the Aging in Literature seminar (which will be running next year! YAY!), will be volunteering over at Monte Vista Grove Homes.
I have found that the experiences I have had working and volunteering over at Monte Vista have transformed my life and I wish that the girls at my school can share the same powerful experiences! And, with these experiences, the girls will be able to better understand and empathize with the elderly, causing a greater connection and bond to form!
I thought I might share this with you, although a very long email, because it is the fuel that drives my project! Hope this helps!