Spreading Love Across Generations — My Journey with Volunteer Grandparents

My name is Valentine.

Named after Saint Valentine, my parents often refer to me as their “fruit of love.” This name has carried a special mission throughout my life: to spread love and kindness wherever I go. It’s a mission I embrace wholeheartedly, always striving to see the good in everything and remain optimistic, no matter the challenges I face. Life is full of hurdles, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and every challenge is a blessing in disguise. These experiences make us stronger, more relatable, and ready for the next opportunity. 

Mom, myself & grandma in 2009. Grandma in Canada, getting to view where I grew up.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in our own responsibilities and forget to be kind to those around us. However, kindness costs nothing. A simple act of kindness can brighten someone’s day and lighten their load. This is especially true for our seniors, who often face loneliness and isolation. Connecting with the younger generation can be difficult for them, but it’s a connection that can be incredibly rewarding for both parties. 

Volunteer Grandparents is on a mission to bridge the intergenerational gap. We believe that by fostering connections between different generations, we can create mutually beneficial relationships where both sides learn, grow, and gain wisdom from each other. This mission resonates deeply with me, especially when I think about my own grandmother, who lives far away in Japan. Every visit feels a bit awkward because of the distance and the time between our meetings, but I always hope she is being treated with the respect and kindness she deserves. 

Interacting with seniors has always been important to me. Whether it’s giving up my seat on public transit or simply having a conversation, I enjoy hearing about their day and their life experiences. I am endlessly curious about the stories behind the faces I see on the streets, trains, and airplanes. Each person has a unique story to tell, and these stories are a treasure trove of wisdom and life lessons. 

My grandma, myself and mom (2023). Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones.

This summer, I fell in love with the mission of Volunteer Grandparents while working as their summer student. It warmed my heart to know that such a nonprofit exists, dedicated to creating connections between generations. Explaining our mission to friends and seeing their reactions of “that’s so sweet” reaffirmed the importance of our work. Every child deserves the love and wisdom of a grandparent, and every grandparent deserves the joy and companionship of a child. These relationships are about more than just growing older together; they are about growing in personality, depth, and understanding. 

Our Letters to Seniors Program is a beautiful example of this mission in action. Volunteers of all ages send drawings, cards, and letters to seniors, providing them with encouraging and meaningful messages. This program also includes a pen-pal format where youth and seniors exchange letters and share their interests and hobbies, creating deep and lasting connections. 

In addition to the Letters to Seniors Program, Volunteer Grandparents offers the Family Match Program, the School Grandparent Program, and the Ambassador Program. We also participate in community events and collaborate with other organizations to further our mission. There are numerous ways to get involved and make a difference. 

Supporting Volunteer Grandparents can also be done through donations. Financial contributions help us keep up with the demands of our programs, ensuring we can continue to strengthen families and communities through intergenerational connections. Your donation can also contribute to the Florio Bursary, benefiting a child who might otherwise be unable to pursue an activity they are passionate about. Donations can be made online, by mail, or in-person, and tax receipts are issued for any donations over $10. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/15420

To learn more about our various initiatives and how you can get involved, please browse our website or contact us directly via email or phone. Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey and the incredible mission of Volunteer Grandparents. Let’s continue to spread love and kindness, one generation at a time.