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

Mary Steele
Treehouse Intergenerational Community
Easthampton, MA

 

She helps in many ways at this multigenerational living 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.

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