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Tracing Roots with Helen Mast

by Handmaker Admin | Jan 27, 2016

Helen and Max
What does a 93 year old Handmaker resident have in common with a 16 year old boy? Plenty, it turns out. And they are not alone. Nearly a dozen Handmaker residents have had the opportunity to build some beautiful friendships with Jewish teens in Tucson, thanks to a recent “Better Together” grant from the Legacy Heritage Fund.

Since September, each participating resident in the “Tracing Roots and Building Trees” program has been paired up with a Hebrew High student to be their partner for the entire school year. The pairs meet once a month at Handmaker to enjoy lunch, a Jewish learning activity, and to get to know one another.

Sharon Glassberg, Director of Education at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, has planned monthly themed activities in order to facilitate conversation and connections in an interesting and comfortable way. And in many cases, she has succeeded well beyond her expectations.

Handmaker resident Helen and Hebrew High Teen Max are a perfect example. In the short time that they have known each other, Helen has already met Max’s entire family, including his grandparents. To their delight, she has shared her life stories and recipes with them all, and exchanged holiday cards as well. Max is a little on the shy side, and Helen has really taken him under her wing to boost his confidence and share her views and wisdom with him, especially about the importance of friendship. In her opinion, life is all about relationships. And clearly, you are never too old to develop new ones. Certainly, this special friendship is going to last well beyond the length of this year long program.