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Intergenerational friendships have positive impact

Intergenerational friendships have positive impact
October 29, 2013 8:45 am  • 

When I was 16, I was involved in the office education program at my high school. My first office job was in the district office working for the superintendent, district administrators and all of their assistants. I made fast friends with the dozen or so secretaries in the office. All of them were old enough to be my mother. Some were old enough to be my grandmother.

I enjoyed the conversations we’d have and valued the advice they’d give. We’d plan field trips on our days off and go out to dinner as a group. I ended up working in the office after graduation for a dozen more years and these ladies were—and still are—some of my best friends. One of those friends, Jeanette, bought me the jewelry I wore to prom and made my flower girl baskets when I got married.

Another friend, June, stood in as grandma in the hospital after my first and second sons were born when my own mom was recovering from surgery and couldn’t visit. June sat by my side and comforted me as we took turns holding my little guy in the neo-natal unit.

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Intergenerational friendships have positive impact

Intergenerational friendships have positive impact
October 15, 2013 8:45 am  • 

When I was 16, I was involved in the office education program at my high school. My first office job was in the district office working for the superintendent, district administrators and all of their assistants. I made fast friends with the dozen or so secretaries in the office. All of them were old enough to be my mother. Some were old enough to be my grandmother.

I enjoyed the conversations we’d have and valued the advice they’d give. We’d plan field trips on our days off and go out to dinner as a group. I ended up working in the office after graduation for a dozen more years and these ladies were—and still are—some of my best friends. One of those friends, Jeanette, bought me the jewelry I wore to prom and made my flower girl baskets when I got married.

Another friend, June, stood in as grandma in the hospital after my first and second sons were born when my own mom was recovering from surgery and couldn’t visit. June sat by my side and comforted me as we took turns holding my little guy in the neo-natal unit.

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Friendships are an added benefit of volunteering

Friendships are an added benefit of volunteering
September 10, 2013 5:14 pm  • 

Strong friendships can be formed in many places. Some in childhood. Some in school. Some in the workplace. Some through church. Getting involved as a volunteer in a charitable or not-for-profit organization is an endeavor that can pay off in many ways, even if you are working for free.

There are the rewards of helping those who are less fortunate or struggling, the satisfaction of lending your talents in a useful way and the gift of friendship that often comes from working side by side with people of a similar mindset with similar goals of improving your community or helping others.

Carol Oostman of Cedar Lake began volunteering in 1996 with Camp Quality Illinois, an organization that hosts a week-long camp for kids with cancer and a year-round support system for those kids and their families. That first year she was a companion, spending the week of camp one-on-one with a child with cancer. Also in her cabin was Donna Marcinski and the two formed a friendship that flourished and continues as do their volunteer roles. The two returned this month as volunteers at camp for the 17th year.

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Generations: Summer travel brings families together through new experiences

Generations: Summer travel brings families together through new experiences
July 14, 2013 4:15 pm  • 

Summer is a time when travel is taken to places near and far to take a break from the everyday grind and experience new things. In addition to the couples heading off for romantic trips to the tropics or parents heading out on road trips with their kids are many multigenerational groups taking advantage of spending quality time together. Traveling with adult children or with grandchildren gives an opportunity to enjoy nature and leisurely activities together, to get to know one another better and to develop a better appreciation for each other.

Don and Lorna Williams of Valparaiso took a recent trip to Williamsburg, Virginia with their daughter and two grandsons, which included several day trips, an outing on a sailing ship, a theme park visit and a day in Colonial Williamsburg. Don Williams said grandsons, Max, 12, and Owen, 8, enjoyed the interactive history lessons at the living museum, especially one where they played the part of patriot spies, bridging the gap between the past and today’s technology as they used cell phones to help find clues.

This was the second long family vacation the three generations have taken together to Williamsburg, the place where the Williams’ grew up and met in high school and now have a time share. The five of them spent a week together in addition to a couple days of traveling to and from their destination, which took about 12 hours by car. The boys’ uncle also joined them for part of the trip.

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Generations: Technology keeps us connected

Generations: Technology keeps us connected
June 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

If you’ve lived much of your life without a computer, it can be a little intimidating to think about diving in and making it a part of your daily life. And if you’re one of those who has been resistant to embracing technology, you may want to think again. Such devices and applications as smart phones, tablets, e-mail, texting, Facebook and Skype are bringing families together, offering an easy avenue to communicate when you’re loved ones are far away and or when they are as close as the next room.

Gone are the days of sending pictures in the mail to great aunt Martha. With the click of a button, vibrant photographs can be sent along in an e-mail without the hassle and expense of developing film. Albums full of snapshots can be uploaded in minutes to be viewed by all of your family and friends via Facebook, which allows pictures and videos to be uploaded and shared with family and friends.

Rhonda Wilson of Portage started Skyping with her sister, who lives 1,100 miles away in Louisiana several years ago. She now uses Skype to stay connected to her daughter, Stephanie, who recently moved 2,200 miles away with her husband and four children to Oregon. “It’s been a blessing to see their daily lives on Skype,” she said. “The grandkids tell me about their school day and I have even watched Stephanie bake in the kitchen. It’s just like being in the same room with her.”

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