Alfred Burman knows what hard work is.
The 92-year-old resident of Telfer Place Retirement Residence in Paris said he followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps.
“My dad was a baker and I became a baker,” Burman said. “I had my own bakery for years in Hamilton. I suppose I could tell some good stories.”
And telling stories is what Burman will do when he and a dozen other seniors are paired with 12 youths selected to write the stories of seniors as part of Kids Can Fly’s Generations of Writers program.
The charitable organization, which promotes early learning, literacy and parenting, announced a $14,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant earmarked for the initiative in partnership with the County of Brant Public Library and Telfer Place Retirement Residence, during a media launch at the Paris retirement home on Wednesday morning.
Sharon Brooks, executive director of Kids Can Fly, said the Generations of Writers program fits with the charity’s mandate of promoting literacy, but also allows seniors to be involved in literacy promotion. The seniors will be the subject of a future public display, and will feature in print and online narratives.
“What a wonderful way to have the stories of seniors told, and to also have intergenerational contact,” Brooks said. “We’re stretching to the other end of the spectrum and we are excited about mixing the generations.”
The program will run in the County of Brant from October until November. Youth selected for the project will take part in training sessions with writer and educator Lauren Kirshner before being paired with Telfer Place residents.
Brant MPP Dave Levac said the initiative will be of much value to both youth and seniors.
“Telfer Place residents will provide the opportunity to mine the treasures of memory, of stories about overcoming obstacles and will help teach young people to live life fully,” Levac said. “These kids will be exposed to some incredible stories – some funny, some tear-jerkers.
“It is unfortunate that some of our seniors don’t have someone to tell their story to. This is a good story because we are bringing seniors together with kids. This will create beautiful stories and I look forward to reading them.”
Candidates selected for the program are required to participate in Saturday afternoon workshops in October and have access to a computer.