Grand Friends matches older adult volunteers and students who are studying aging or social work
The Grand Friends program matches UVM students with older adult volunteers to foster intergenerational learning and friendships. Students and older adults meet several times during the semester by video conference, phone, 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, engaging 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.
Students report having a better understanding of what it means to age well, a deeper respect for older adults, an increased awareness of the language around aging, increased knowledge about community resources, and a desire to continue connecting with older adults.
“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 Spring 2024 program, email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Grand Friends" in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through January 1, 2024.