Elementary students and senior citizens in Smithers have been making long-lasting friendships throughout the school year.

Through the ‘Buddy Program’, a grade four and five class from Muheim Elementary have been meeting at the Meadows assisted living centre once a month.

Their French Immersion Teacher Liliana Pesce says it helps the kids practice inclusion outside of the classroom.

She says the kids also learn empathy by hanging out with people of different ages.

“There are many seniors who live alone and I think if teachers can make some connections with their students – if it’s after school programs or during the day – it’s just important to check on our elders and spend time with them and respect that they have lots of different skills and talents and stories that they like to share,” says Pesce.

Pesce says they also invite the seniors to the school to participate in events and activities. Since the program started in September, she says several students have made strong friendships with the residents.

This week they had their last visit of the school year. Pesce hopes to continue the Buddy Program in September.