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Decades don't make a difference for seniors and teens

6:44 AM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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"There are always children and pets running up and down the hall," resident Mary Ellen Thorpe-Johnson said.

The residents are particularly fond of a particular group of teenage visitors.

"We all have great things in common," said 15-year-old Luis Ramos, surrounded by two lovely ladies, ages 82 and 94.

Ramos' visit was arranged by Bessie's Hope, a non-profit organization that arranges visits to retirement homes. The group trains volunteers of all ages. Organization founder Linda Holloway is particularly fond of the focus that Bessie's Hope places on connecting elders and at-risk teens.

"We find that there's so much hopelessness and so much loneliness," she said. "And so the Bessie's Hope program instills that. When they have something to look forward to, they look forward to these youth visits it gives them hope."

Last year, Bessie's Hope connected a total of more than 6,000 elders and teens. They call the pairs "grandpartners." Often times, strong bonds are formed.

"We need each other. We complement each other," said Thorpe-Johnson, while sitting next to teen volunteer Alexis Keopangna. "We're at the beginning and close to the end, but it's all in what you make out of both places."

"I couldn't have said it better," nodded Keopangna.

For more information on Bessie's Hope, call 303-632-1176 or visit the website: www.bessieshope.org

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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