Mary Steele

Easthampton, MA

"For the foster children, I am like their grandmother as well as a leader in the community."

As a part of the Treehouse Intergenerational Community, I share my experience and talents in a many ways.

I live in a multigenerational, planned neighborhood in Easthampton, Massachusetts where families who have adopted children, or families caring for foster children live along with elders and support one another’s lives. It is a village where children find not just parents and a home, but also grandparents, playmates and an entire neighborhood designed to help them grow up in a secure and nurturing environment.

I give kids rides to school and take care of them after school or when parents need a break. I am like their grandmother as well as being a leader in the community. I created a Peace Team in the community that brings senior community members together to create a culture of peace.

As part of this, I helped to start parent’s night out for foster and adoptive parents, I support community building events that bring people together across generations, and make banners for the community center. We planted a Peace Pole in the community to maintain our commitment to a culture of peace that is rededicated each year.

My volunteer work with children and youth has been a lifetime vocation, both professionally and simply as a volunteer. As a grandparent, I also raised my granddaughter, which heightened my awareness to the needs of kids and families.

When I heard about the Treehouse Community, I knew it was a chance to continue what was important to me. I find it so rewarding. The impact of what I do is so powerful and yet it is hard to put into words because it is so deep.

Letting children know that you love and trust them makes a miraculous difference in their attitudes and well-being. Their confidence grows when they trust you. When you see them becoming more trusting, you know you are having a big impact.

When we adults share our wisdom, which is developed through years of experience, I believe we can make a positive impact on future generations.

Generation to Generation Stories

Read stories of intergenerational relationships and how their lives were changed.

"This activity provides me with the chance to reach the younger audience and connect with them in a compassionate, caring way."

Rainy Roth

Troy, MT

"Retirement can leave one feeling unfulfilled, if well-rested. Joining Experience Corps has satisfied my own need to be communally productive and purposeful."

Patty Brooks

Portland, OR

"I don't "do" charity. I just do what I'm supposed to do."

Lisa Oliver King

Grand Rapids, MI