Grand Friends Program

Grand Friends matches older adult volunteers and students who are studying aging

Grand Friends enjoy each other's company (pre-Covid)

The Grand Friends program matches UVM students with older adult volunteers to foster intergenerational learning and friendships. Students and older adults meet a few times during the semester by phone, email, video conference, or in-person to exchange wisdom and experiences.

Society often divides us into various silos that make it harder to interact with people that have differing opinions, ages, and life circumstances. The Grand Friends program aims to celebrate the diversity of our community and bring people together.  

Research shows that positive social relationships, engagement in social activities, and retaining a role in society are major determinants to quality of life as we age. The Grand Friends program allows older adults to connect with young adults who are in a period of intense learning, opinion formation, and decision-making that will affect the rest of their lives.  

Past student participants report having a better understanding of what it means to age well, an increased desire to advocate for social entitlements, a deeper respect for older adults, an increased awareness of the language around aging, increased knowledge about community resources, and an increased desire to continue connecting with older adults.

Student testimonials:

“This class…has changed the way I see my parents, my grandparents, and aging as a whole.”

“This has encouraged me to be less anxious about the process of aging.”

“I think it has allowed me to have more respect for older people and to be more cautious of how I’m affected by the stereotypes and stigmas that have been taught to me subconsciously my entire life.”

Interested in participating?

To apply to participate in the Fall 2022 program, email with "Grand Friends" in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through September 2, 2022.

The program will also take place in Spring 2023 (late January - April). To be notified when applications open for Spring 2023, please email with "Grand Friends" in the subject line.


Older adult volunteer with her student

Smiles from a pair of Grand Friends