Tiffin Community YMCA is seeking youths and senior citizens to participate in a new program.
YMCA Intergenerational Program's snow removal and yard work program is in its first year and involves youths being paired with senior citizens close to where they live to offer yard-work services, such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, planting and watering plants, or cleaning windows.
Senior citizens do not have to pay the youths anything for the services.
"Our goal is to serve at least 60 seniors and to have at least 20 teens committed to the program," said Andria Marquis, YMCA teen program coordinator.
Marquis said she wants seniors citizens to view teenagers in a positive light and not as trouble-makers.
"Seniors get lonely, and they love to talk to people," she said.
How to participate
Youths wanting to participate in the program must fill out a registration form. Forms are located at Tiffin Community YMCA's front desk and at www.tiffinymca.org. Youths or senior citizens wanting more information about the program can call (419) 447-8711 ext. 25 or e-mail Andrea Marquis at firstname.lastname@example.org. The facility is open 5 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Marquis said the program, funded through a grant from Allen Eiry Fund, is open to youths who are in grades 6-12 or are at least 12 years old. She said officials opened the program to youths in the Leadership Opportunities For Teens program, but they don't want to deny anyone the opportunity to perform service in the community. YMCA received the grant a year ago, she said.
"This was (CEO Steven Crone's) vision - his dream," she said.
Marquis said she has a list of people through Seneca County Commission on Aging the program is targeting, but she is waiting for senior citizens to come forward. Teenagers are enrolled in the program, so as soon as senior citizens are involved, they can start working, she said.
The program seeks more young people to get involved as well. The more teenagers in the program, the more seniors it can serve, she said.
"(The work) would extend throughout the entire community. ... It's not just Tiffin city limits. It extends throughout the entire county," she said.
Marquis said the program provides rakes and snow shovels and is good job training and exercise for the teenagers.
"All of it's physical labor," she said.
According to information from Marquis, each senior citizen will receive names and phone numbers of several students who are registered for the program and will call one of the names on the list. Officials have made up vouchers, similar to receipt booklets. The senior citizens receive a booklet and fill out the forms once teenagers complete the work.
"The student brings us the carbon copy," Marquis said.
By participating in the program, youths receive credit toward their YMCA membership or a program, or they can do the work in exchange for Chamber of Commerce gift cards.
"(The money) all stays local," Marquis said.