Friendships built between seniors and children at Walk the Talk event

A class of Grade 5 students from École Mother Teresa School excitedly joined about 20 seniors at Centennial Park to ‘Walk the Talk.'

Students and seniors walk together.

A class of Grade 5 students from École Mother Teresa School excitedly joined about 20 seniors at Centennial Park to ‘Walk the Talk’ on Tuesday afternoon.

The seniors came from the Sylvan Lake Lodge, Bethany Sylvan Lake and throughout the community, and were accompanied by some staff who happily walked with them as they were paired up with students.

To start, the students were given half a playing card and were instructed to find the other half, which matched them up with a senior.

Leigh Corbiere, the Grade 5 French teacher who brought the students, said they were all thrilled of the idea of meeting and walking with the seniors.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community and develop some skills and ability to relate to adults,” Corbiere said. “The children were really excited about this.”

This is the second year the Walk the Talk event has taken place. Last year there was a good response from the students and seniors attending the event, and FCSS senior support co-ordinator Brittney Wells said there was a strong desire to host the event again this year and make it into an annual event.

“The seniors and students get to learn about one another,” Wells said. “It’s a great partnership between the youth and our seniors in our community.”

One of the seniors, Patricia Granik, was very enthusiastic about being at the event and gave some of the young students some wise words of wisdom.

“The secret to youth and life is exercise,” Granik said. “It’s just as simple as riding your bike or walking to get your body moving.”

During the walk the seniors and students stopped to read questions posted along the trail parallel to Lakeshore Drive. The questions raised conversations between the students and seniors such as the accomplishments they were most proud of. Some of the other questions related to cultural traditions, family pets and volunteer work.

“The seniors and children get to learn about each other,” Wells said. “How the youth interpret the questions and how the seniors interpret the questions will be different. It will be a great conversation starter for them.”

After the walk was finished, the seniors and children stopped for a quick ice cream treat to continue building their new friendships with each other.

Volunteer Centre administrator Karen Miller attended the event and commented on how the seniors and students were given the chance to form solid friendships.

“Lots of new friendships are made,” Miller said. “It’s really good.”

The event was hosted by the Sylvan Lake Building Bridges Committee.