The Benefits of Intergenerational Connection
Young adulthood (18-24 years) is often a period of great change. From living alone for the first time to new jobs and responsibilities, many people experience both profound excitement and genuine stress. The COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of uncertainty and may significantly impact this population’s social, emotional, and mental well-being in a negative way. Changes in routine, employment, education, life events, and socialization exacerbate an already unpredictable time.
A great way to add consistency and a healthy way to cope with stress is through volunteering. The intergenerational connection that volunteering with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM) brings benefits all involved and allows clients and volunteers to feel validated, valued, and less isolated.
Volunteer and recent college graduate, Théo Storella, shares what his experience as a Client Wellness Caller and meal delivery driver in Leisure World (located in Silver Spring, MD) meant to him.
Théo was born in Italy and spent much of his childhood living in different countries across the globe. He currently lives with his family in Maryland.
When Théo learned that his senior year of college would end in remote learning due to COVID-19, he found himself with some extra time. He knew that he wanted to spend that time serving his community and felt that MOWCM was the perfect place to do it, assisting the most vulnerable to the virus and social isolation. Describing the current times, Théo says, “This is a crisis no one could have imagined. If there is a time to be engaged in your community, it is now.”
Initially, Théo began as a Client Wellness Calls volunteer, chatting with several clients twice a week. He felt fortunate to be able to hear clients’ stories. He decided to engage more fully by delivering meals out of the Leisure World site.
Théo says that the vulnerability and loneliness that clients experience is difficult to witness. Many clients that Théo encounters will see no one but their MOWCM volunteer throughout the whole week. He says, “There is a genuine hunger for connection, and I can see how the deliveries bring a smile to folks’ faces. It also brightens my week as well, and I am really grateful and appreciative for the connection and experience.”
Meals on Wheels volunteers make an immediate impact everyday. Visit https://www.mealsonwheelsmd.org/volunteer/ to learn how you can help.