Seniors connect with kids over shared love of reading

February 27, 2012 8:49:17 PM PST
Every month, two dozen senior citizens from the Baywood Court Retirement Community in Castro Valley board a bus to do something which, they say, keeps them young. They sit down with kindergartners in East Oakland to read, laugh and learn.

"The seniors know they have something they clearly look forward to and know they are making a difference," school volunteer Jo Budman said. "The kids have something that makes them individually special."

Budman reached out to Elaine Blow, one of the seniors at the center.

"I had 15 people listed; right now I'm up to 26," Blow said.

The seniors have been coming to the school since the beginning of the school year. Both the kids and the seniors meet for one hour on the last Monday of the month.

Phyllis Huggman is 97 years old.

"I think education is so important in their lives that that's one of the reasons I come here-hopefully give them a love of reading," she said.

Bill Tamerlain is a former San Mateo High School teacher.

"They give me a sense of doing something," he said.

The seniors also collect donated books for the children.

"It builds their self esteem to let them know someone is interested in them and concerned and taking the time with them," teacher Aura Levi said.

"I like reading because I love it so much; I like to be learning in my school and reading," student Aniyah Herron said.

For a short hour they realize they are giving something to each other.


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