Back to all news

Building friendships and gingerbread houses

December 21st, 2022

Glenda Mabbutt with friends and their gingerbread house

Teens and seniors hanging out together socially? That may cause some apprehension. But at Points West Living Drayton Valley the feeling has gone from apprehension to anticipation.

It all started when a teacher from Little School In The Valley talked about having her middle school students volunteering to spend time with seniors and become pen pals. 

That prompted Recreation Therapist Amber Tomaszeski of Drayton Valley to help arrange for young people to come by the Drayton community to visit.

After Amber informed the residents of the upcoming visits, there was some apprehension among them.  Some seniors were not sure what to expect of their young visitors and whether it would be possible to connect with the younger generation.

So, to break the ice, students began their volunteering by joining the residents in games of Bingo. After a few visits, the residents were more at ease and began to look forward to visits from their new friends.

From Apprehension to Anticipation

Recently the residents were invited to join in with their student buddies to decorate gingerbread houses.  The library soon filled with laughter and storytelling as residents and their young friends built and decorated the houses.

Some of the students have started to form special bonds with certain residents. And some have even requested to volunteer at Drayton Valley on their own, separate from the school group.

What started as apprehension for some has now become anticipation of the young volunteers.

It goes to show that intergenerational friendships can help people to broaden their perspective and viewpoints to nurture more compassion and empathy for others that they had previously believed they had little in common.

These special friendships also help to alleviate the three plagues: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.

See more gingerbread photos here.



Back to all news

This news service is for and about you. If you have feedback, photos and story ideas you'd like to contribute, please email them to