October 2018 -- Tishrei-Cheshvan 5779,  Volume 24, Issue 10

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Bedford Student Builds Community of Kindness through Intergenerational Program

Maddie Goodman, a rising senior at Fox Lane High School in Bedford,  has created what she calls a “Community of Kindness” by working with  children at Mt. Kisco Child Care Center (MKCCC) and seniors at My Second Home (MSH), through an intergenerational program that she devised that brings them all  together.  Both organizations are housed in the same building.


Motivated by the desire to bring more awareness to the importance of being kind, Goodman developed the idea of groups building communities based upon kindness and collaboration. “You’re never too young or too old to be reminded of the need to be kind to one another. There’s a lot going on in the world right now that doesn’t feel very kind, so I wanted to bring everyone’s focus back to kindness,” she said.


With her passion for art, Goodman worked with the children at MKCCC, after school in the fall, helping them build houses out of empty milk cartons.   She helped the children decorate the milk cartons and created a village as the setting for the houses.   Then she asked the children to write kind messages about each other to be displayed on the homes.  The children wrote messages such as “good friend,” “nice,” and “kind.”


“As the project developed over the fall, I witnessed the children help each other and engage in several ways.  The project was a huge success and we had a lot of fun creating it and talking about how communities prosper with kindness!”


 During  the past winter, Goodman worked with the seniors across the hallway to help them build a village of their own.  In developing the seniors’ village, she had the seniors share memories of their childhood neighborhoods. She incorporated various elements of  their lives into the community such as the barber shop one senior lived above while growing up.


 Combining the children’s and seniors’ communities made for a wonderful intergenerational program. “When I started working with the children, it was so heart-warming to watch them interact with the seniors across the hallway,” explained Goodman.  “ It was like seeing a big family of grandchildren and grandparents all in one area.  I wanted to find a way to strengthen the bridge between the two communities and have the foundation be built on kindness toward one another.  Kindness is something we can teach our children and we need more of it in the world.”


Learning the concept of  Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World, as a member with her family  for 15 years at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners,  Goodman went forward with her ideas  to make an impact on the children and seniors.


And so taken with the My Second Home  program, Goodman raised over $500 through family and friends to support the work of the non profit organization.