Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

The Jewish Pavilion's Adopted Grandparent Program is fulfilling lives of seniors

On a hot morning in early June, I met with Grandparent Program participants Isa Vogel and Rebekah McNarney, age 9, as Isa was hosting a lovely brunch for her adopted 'granddaughter,' Rebekah and her mother, Lauren.

Sitting together at Isa's table was a newly freeing experience after the isolation of COVID and a complete lack of visitors. Delicious homemade food was served by Isa, and the conversation flowed easily. The isolation felt by Isa and many of our seniors was intensified by the death of Isa's beloved husband, Sandy, during the pandemic. But having a special relationship with Rebekah made it a little better as Rebekah and Isa both share a love of art, "... that lasts a lifetime," commented Isa.

"Rebekah has brought and mailed a lot of art. That's been a big way they've been able to connect," added Rebekah's mom, Lauren.

What could be more special than two multi-generational artists connecting with each other? Isa slipped right into the role of 'mom' to Lauren and 'grandmother' to Rebekah by listening attentively and being supportive and offering advice.

"I think it [The Jewish Pavilion's Adopted Grandparent Program] is very fulfilling," said Isa as she cleaned up from the brunch she happily couldn't believe went so late. "I never had a brunch that lasted over 2 hours!" she exclaimed.

Rebekah added that she would do the program again if given the chance, explaining, "I still have [biological] grandparents, but it is different from my other grandparents in a way, but it is still fun. Here we just sort of have our own little thing."

If you would like the opportunity to take part in the Adopted Grandparent Program please contact Cantor Nina Fine at nina@ninafine.com. If you would like to support it and other important programs enriching the lives of the seniors (as well as the children) in the local Jewish community, please consider a tax-deductible donation to The Jewish Pavilion: http://www.jewishpavilion.org/407-678-9363.


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