(The following story was written by Babies Who Volunteer. We are pleased to share it with you.)
Today, many of the seniors in our community are isolated, lonely and in need of companionship and joy. Many new parents also experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Babies Who Volunteer (BWV) is working to change this by connecting our youngest generation with our oldest generation through the volunteer efforts of today’s young parents and their babies.
BWV is rooted in the simple knowledge that babies bring love and happiness to others, especially those that may be lonely or missing their own children and grandchildren. It is also rooted in the fact that social interaction is beneficial to babies in assisting their healthy growth and development. The intergenerational bond between seniors, adults and babies is natural, powerful, joyful and beneficial for all. See it for yourself in this short video.
Baby Days is a program in which parents or caregivers bring their babies and young children to visit seniors in long-term care homes, retirement communities, senior day programs and respite facilities. The seniors hold and cuddle the babies, sing songs to them, play games with them, read to them, and simply enjoy their presence. These nurturing interactions bring love and joy to both seniors and babies and have lasting and positive impacts on the quality of life and general health of all those who participate.
The important work of BWV is delivered by some tiny, but mighty, volunteers (babies), along with their parents or caregivers. In ten short months, this group has grown from a handful of volunteers to over 1,300 volunteers, with new members joining daily. Our volunteers are at the heart of what we do and key to the achievement of our mission. Volunteers come from all areas of the community, represent various professions, backgrounds and cultures and are united by a common dedication to the well-being of seniors and babies.
The CHEO Foundation and Ottawa Community Foundation’s contribution directly supports BWV’s mission to enrich the lives of seniors in our community and to extend the reach of our programs to ensure more seniors, children and families can benefit from Baby Days.
“BWV is extremely grateful the CHEO Foundation and the Ottawa Community Foundation recognize the need for this intergenerational programming and are here to fully support this wonderful initiative. What a great way to give back to the seniors of our communities,” says Jessica Turner, President and CEO of Babies Who Volunteer Inc.
CHEO first opened its doors in 1974 following an advocacy and fundraising campaign by a passionate group of grandparents who recognized the urgent need for a children’s hospital in this region. In the 45 years since, CHEO has continued to thrive in large part due to the incredible community support of subsequent generations of parents and grandparents. CHEO is all about one generation taking care of the next and their support for the Baby Days program is a simple and meaningful way to give back to those who have given so much to them throughout the years.
“There is no better way for the CHEO Foundation to thank and honour our seniors than by giving them the gift of love and companionship from these beautiful babies and their loving parents,” says Kevin Keohane, President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation.
The Ottawa Community Foundation is a public, non-profit organization that has been connecting donors to causes since 1987. The Foundation works with the community to fulfill impact philanthropy and bring about positive, systemic and sustainable change in our city, regionally, nationally and beyond. Through their support of BWV they are helping to foster a strong, positive and caring community.
“What we really like about this program is that BWV’s solution to isolation wasn’t to look to an institution to provide services. They creatively connected seniors and moms and babies together where it’s needed. In the community,” says Rebecca Aird, Director, Community Engagement with the Ottawa Community Foundation
The CHEO Foundation and the Ottawa Community Foundation have a shared vision to help vulnerable populations live their best life. “Together they are helping us to build a healthy community and the best life for children and seniors through inter-generational programming,” says Jessica Turner, President and CEO of Babies Who Volunteer.
BWV can’t thank both organizations enough for the love and support they have shown us.
For more information, or to volunteer, please visit www.babieswhovolunteer.com.
If you would like to learn more on how the Ottawa Community Foundation is helping build a stronger community, sign up to receive our updates.