Hands of Our Future joins young and old on Make A Difference Day
FREMONT ― Around the world on Saturday, people were finding ways to help their communities on International Make a Difference Day. In Fremont, that impact occurred among bright orange pumpkins and bowls full of candy as local youth gathered with local seniors for an afternoon of fall fun at the Presidential Library and museums in Rutherford B. Hayes. The event was organized by Hands of Our Future (HOOF), a Fremont-based nonprofit whose mission is to serve local youth.
HOOF was created by Jerry Jones in 2020.
“Jerry Jones just had a vision to provide programs and resources for young people,” said HOOF volunteer Sarah Meade.
“He wanted to provide our young people with a safe place where they can learn life skills and foster relationships in the county.”
That vision came to life on Saturday as children and teens decorated pumpkins in Hayes with residents of Elmwood Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing. They chatted, laughed, ate popcorn and connected across generations.
“I chose the pumpkin and this sweet little girl did most of the mess for me,” Patsy Copley said.
The “sweet little girl” was HOOF board member Ailish Masterson.
“I think it’s a good turnout. Patsy and I had fun,” Masterson said.
A high school student and a 101-year-old boy work together to decorate a pumpkin
At another table, St. Joseph Central Catholic High School junior Andrea Gonzalez helped 101-year-old Hazel Schrock decorate a pumpkin. Gonzalez was happy to be part of the event.
“I’m a very service-oriented person and I appreciate a service-oriented community,” Gonzalez said. “I will do everything I can to integrate this and make the world a better place.”
Elmwood activities director Candie Fligor said residents were delighted to attend the event.
“It’s always good to bring together old people and children. It brings them life,” Fligor said.
Devin Pollick brought his children, Rowan, 8, and Emmy, 5, to the HOOF event to support his daughter, Lylah, a volunteer student at Ross High School National Honor Society. Emmy said the candy was the best part of the event, but Rowan loved the pumpkins.
“I love doing all the pumpkin stuff,” he said.
Six-year-old Mekhi Lather also loved decorating pumpkins.
“It’s good because we can do pumpkins,” he said.
Brenda Peiffer joined HOOF as a volunteer about a month ago. She works for the Clyde-Green Springs School District and has experience with the senior population. She therefore understands the importance of bringing children and the elderly together.
HOOF enables young and old to work together
“I love it. I think it’s a good opportunity for our young people to do an intergenerational program. It makes them feel like they can make a difference,” Peiffer said. children. It gave them something to look forward to.
The Make a Difference Day program was one of many monthly events organized by HOOF. Other past events include a Thanksgiving celebration at Journey’s and a day of bowling at Plaza Lanes.
“Over the past year, we have worked really hard to move our initiative forward. Our events are open to all children and everything is free,” Meade said. “We became a 501(c)3 and developed programs with the ultimate goal of establishing an after-school program for local youth.”
The Fall Fun Day at the Hayes Museum was funded by local donations and a grant from United Way.
“We partnered with Hayes, who let us use their facilities, and the pumpkins provided by Polter,” Meade said. “The first 50 children go home with a free t-shirt. Fremont Athletic Supply has been great to help with this initiative, and the city has been great to work with us.
St. Joe’s students made no-sew blankets for each senior who attended the event, and blankets and pumpkins were delivered to residents of Bethesda Care Center.
“We want young people to show our elders that we care about them,” Mead said.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at[email protected].