Grandparent's Day is Sunday
National Grandparent’s Day is September 9th. This year, an organization called Generations United has put together a challenge to Do Something Grand. They have compiled a list of ways that grandparents can be actively involved in their community during the month of September. These are the ideas I would like to share with you.
Civically Grand- Write a Letter. Writing a personal letter is a great way to communicate with your elected officials about an issue that is important to you. Decision makers need to hear your thoughts, and they appreciate that you’ve taken the time to prepare a well- thought-out message.
Share Your Opinion- One way to advocate for issues that are important to you is to pick up your pen – or to pull out your keyboard – and write a letter to the editor or an opinion editorial (also known as an op-ed) expressing your support for an issue.
Help a Young Adult Register to Vote- Pass on strong civic values to the next generation by encouraging at least one young person to register to vote. An election year is a great time to talk with teens about the importance of making their voices heard. Before registering to vote, create a timeline detailing significant events in the voting rights movements to help show how far we’ve come in the last 100 years. Personalize the timeline by indicating the years that you voted, with highlights from major elections. Talk with teens about the importance of making their voices heard.
Take a Tour of Your Town- Learn more about your hometown, as well as your grandparent or grandchild. Visit the buildings where local decisions are made (i.e. Mayor’s office, city council, state capital, etc.). Talk about the political process and the ways young people can get involved.
A Community Kitchen- Community kitchens provide vital resources in your community and offer a great opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to volunteer together. Start up a fundraiser, conduct a food drive, or offer to distribute food to those in need in your community. An intergenerational team can deliver meals to homebound seniors twice as fast while having twice as much fun.
Care Facilities- Intergenerational relationships are beneficial for all involved. Volunteer in community facilities that serve children and adults, such as child care centers, afterschool programs, schools, senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living communities, or adult day care centers. Intergenerational shared site facilities serve more than one age group under the same roof and can help communities save dollars. If your community only has single-age facilities, help to transform them into multi-generational sites.
A Local Park- Pick up litter, clear out paths, and remove weeds, all while being surrounded by the great outdoors! Check with your local parks department to find out what options exist or what opportunities could be created by an intergenerational team.
An Animal Shelter- Enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile together. Like people, animals want our love and attention. Often, they just want to play. Together you can volunteer to help walk dogs, feed cats or simply play with some lonely critters. Check with your local animal shelters to find out what types of volunteer opportunities are available.
Initiate a Backpack Drive/Collection Drive School/Learning Supplies: This August and September school is back in session! Along with classes and homework comes the need for school supplies. Invite your friends and neighbors to donate backpacks, pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies for children. And adults need to stay sharp too! Youth can start up a drive for older adults in their community, with donations of Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, and books. Coordinate donations with your school board, neighborhood school, senior center, or Department on Aging, make sure to ask specifically what types of donations are needed.
Build Connections, Read with Children- Making books an integral part of our children’s lives helps them reach their maximum potential. There are some great children’s books about service, volunteerism, and United States history that you can read. You can also help by listening to children practice their reading. Even if you’re miles apart, grandparents and grandchildren can reach across the distances and find ways to spend time together. You might read together over the phone or use video chat. My grandmother recorded her voice reading one of my favorite books. Talk about a treasure!
Cook Together- A surprising 67% of grandparents see their grandchildren most often when their family goes out to eat. If that’s the case with your family, why not bring a meal closer to home? After all, nothing brings people together like home- cooked comfort food. You and your grandchildren can pick your favorite recipes and get to work in the kitchen making a meal together. While beating eggs and boiling water, you can also cook up a closer relationship. Once the meal is ready, you can share good food and good conversation with the rest of your family and friends. If you’re a long-distance grandparent, consider developing a family recipe book with favorite or special recipes from many different family members. Once everyone has a copy, plan for each of you to cook the recipes on the same nights and compare notes.
The Butler County Department on Aging challenges you to Do Something Grand! Use these ideas or your own to celebrate the importance of being a civic minded, involved grandparent all month long! For more information on this and other topics of interest, please contact the Butler County Department on Aging at 775-0500.