BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – A local middle school is working with a retirement community, and there are plenty of friendships forming between seniors and middle school students.
"I love just hanging around with the elders because they can teach you so many things," said Nolan Medley, a Read Mountain Middle School sixth-grade student who visits Max every month. "If you'll just pay attention to them they will teach you some of the best life lessons you could possibly get."
Sixth-graders from Read Mountain Middle School get bused to The Glebe Retirement Community during lunch and PE, where they visit with the same senior once a month during the school day.
It doesn't take long for a bond to form.
"The first time was difficult because we didn't know them and they didn't know us. You don't want to say the wrong thing. Now I feel as if I can say almost anything in front of them," said Peter Sachs, a Glebe resident.
Peter and Beverly Sachs look forward to the visit.
"You would be surprised how elderly we feel when they're not here," said Beverly Sachs.
"They're full of life, they have a good sense of humor," said Peter Sachs.
Every visit, there's a theme where they share traditions and learn about each other.
"He was talking about how he and his family always went to church which is a big thing in my family. So that's one of the biggest life lessons I've gotten from him," said Medley.
"I think I have learned more from them than they've learned from me. They're bright and they're going places," said Joy Patten, who lives at The Glebe.
The middle schoolers are listening.
"It's really connecting you with the outside world, past your school, past your house. People older than you are most likely wiser than you so you should really take some lessons from them," said Medley.
This is the seventh year for The Glebe Club. It was started by English teacher Angela Myers. She says sometimes middle schoolers don't have as much practice as they should talking to other people because they are so technology driven. She wanted them to be able to practice and give them a chance to interact with people who would be their great-grandparents age but many of them have already passed.
Myers says the kids get so excited when it's the week to go visit their friends, and many continue to stay in touch after sixth grade.
If you want more information about how the program works to see if it would work in your school, reach out to Angela Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org