Christina Merk

Cleveland, OH

"Older workers . . . have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that we can share to make a child's journey easier."

I visit elementary children one-on-one during their lunch time at Denison Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio as part of a mentoring program run by Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

I meet up with them while their class walks to the cafeteria, they collect their lunch and we walk back to the library to talk and play games or read or draw depending on the child’s interests at that moment.

I was motivated to become involved in this work by knowing that so many children are in need and would benefit from a few extra minutes of time with a caring adult.

Research shows the power of caring adult mentors in the lives of younger children can be dramatic and far-reaching, translating into improved attendance, academic attitude, social skills and self-esteem for a child. I think the kids I work with enjoy when I challenge them with word definitions and games – they visibly perk up with a fun challenge.

What I would like the world to know about older workers is that we have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that we can share to make a child’s journey easier.

Generation to Generation Stories

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

"Now I feel so much closer to community resilience and the local history and culture."

Diann Farnsley

Port St Joe, Florida

“Some of my Intel projects took two years. At the school, I could get immediate gratification from the Director, teachers and students.”

Fancy Bryant III

Oakland, CA

"Working at CAF impacted my life in ways I never expected. . . . I will never forget the events and the athletes [that] made a difference in my life."

Gail Myers

San Diego, CA