Planet Princeton

Princeton GrandPals Program Expands to All Four Elementary Schools

Madison Charles, Ira Stone, and GrandPal Jan Johnson enjoy a book together.
Madison Charles, Ira Stone, and GrandPal Jan Johnson enjoy a book together.

 

If you enjoy reading to young children you can share your love of books, encourage questions, and bring joy to young children through the Princeton GrandPals Program.

In 1997, some enthusiastic people started the GrandPals reading program at Littlebrook School. Recognizing the value of building relationships between older adults and young children, the Princeton Senior Resource Center and Littlebrook School joined forces to create a program centered on reading and sharing books, stories, experiences, and ideas. Through the years the program has spread to the other elementary schools, and this year GrandPals will add three new kindergarten classes at Johnson Park. There are now 90 GrandPals who read to more than 300 children every week.

Volunteers are paired with one or two children for the school year. Most read once a week with kindergarten to second grade children during the school day, though some GrandPals volunteer for multiple sessions per week. The GrandPals come from Princeton, Lawrenceville, Skillman, Trenton, West Windsor, Plainsboro, East Windsor, Kendall Park, East Brunswick, Hamilton, and other surrounding towns. This year there will be 14 classes participating, so there are many different sessions to choose from. Community Park will offer bilingual Spanish and English classes, so anyone with some knowledge of Spanish is encouraged to participate.

The Princeton Senior Resource Center is sponsoring this season’s first GrandPals event on Wednesday, September 16 at 10:30 a.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton (behind Monument Hall). Come and mingle with new and returning GrandPals to see if you would like to join this group of dedicated volunteers.

The program encourages inter-generational friendships for both children and older adults who may not have a grandparenting relationship nearby. However, you don’t have to be a grandparent to participate. Anyone 50 or older who enjoys reading and the company of young minds can become a GrandPal. New volunteers are heartily encouraged.

The program is free. Light refreshments will be served. Please call Olivian Boon at (609) 924-7108 to register.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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