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Redeemer students make Canada’s 150th anniversary count

Updated: May 15, 2023

Intergenerational art event brings seniors and students together

Earlier this year, Alice Yoch, a Financial Planner with RBC, asked Grade 12 students, Kayla and Lucy, to participate in RBC’s Make 150 Count initiative. With this program, RBC gives $150 cash to young people and asks them to go into their communities and make a difference. “We were excited to participate in the event and immediately started brainstorming ideas”, says Lucy. “It’s not every day that someone gives you an opportunity like this to make a difference.”

Kayla and Lucy organized an intergenerational art morning at Viewmount Retirement Residence with about 30 residents and 15 Redeemer students participating and painting in late February. “I was thrilled when they came back to me with the Viewmount craft morning idea,” exclaims Yoch. “I thought the intergenerational aspect of this fit exactly with what RBC wanted to see from this project.”

When thinking of ideas for our RBC 150 event, Lucy knew she wanted to do something intergenerational. “I think that as young people, connecting with and learning from our elders is one of the most important things we can do. I liked incorporating the art aspect because art is something that is universal, it transcends age boundaries and allows people to connect easily.” The heart of Kalya’s goal with Intergenerational Art Day was to unite the generations. She wanted to create an environment where both students and residents could share wisdom and bond over painting. “By having art at the centre of this event, we were able to create a space where everyone could participate,” she says.

“Kayla and Lucy did a great job organizing and running the 150 event,” says Yoch. Although she couldn’t be there, Yoch notes she could see from the photos a lot of interaction and laughter. “The purpose of this initiative was to encourage young people to engage with people they would not normally meet,” she adds. “I think the students made an impact on the residents.”

Marlene, a social media savvy senior, who participated in the Intergenerational Art Day would agree. After the event, she posted a message for the students who took part on the schools’ FaceBook page. “What a pleasure to have these wonderful students here on Sat @220 seniors bldg, they are a joy to chat with and so refreshing and encouraging to us, l look forward to them again.”

Kayla recalls her conversation with Marlene and concurs that everyone, students and seniors, had a great time. “The small room at Viewmount Retirement Residence was filled with the smell of fresh coffee and the sound of the buzzing, engaged conversations,” she says.  “While it seemed like a rather simple concept, this event beautifully demonstrated the importance of community. It was a blessing to be part of planning and running an event that could establish relationships and memories for all to remember.” Lucy says she loved watching the youth and the seniors interact. “It was incredible to see how such a simple thing as a painting can bring two generations together. I appreciated the enthusiasm that all the youth brought to the event and their willingness to interact with the seniors, as well as the seniors’ patience and participation in the event.”

Redeemer students, Kayla and Lucy, are two of the approximately 3000 young people, RBC representatives have chosen to help celebrate Canada’s 150th. They know how to make a difference and RBC is celebrating young people like them who will shape Canada’s future.

Kayla knows “each generation has something unique to offer the other, and when we take the time to listen, we gain an abundance of knowledge that we can apply to our current generation in hope of building a united, loving community.”

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