Old doesn’t mean frail

To the editor:

I am writing to respond to a recent letter questioning the wisdom of the dress-up activity at Butler School on the 100th day of school. The writer expressed concern that students were being encouraged to see older people only as frail, silly and handicapped individuals. While I agree that this would be a bad message to send to our children, I just want to share from personal experience that this is definitely not the case at Butler School.

As the director of the Foster Grandparent Program I have the opportunity to recruit and place wonderful and caring individuals as volunteers with the students at Butler. While some of the students say that “grandma doesn’t need to dress up because she’s already old,” those same students see older adults as being helpers, mentors, friends, and huggers. The children at Butler are being taught to see everyone regardless of age or ability as someone to be respected. The dress-up day was a great way to add some levity into a winter day, and to be honest, who didn’t love dressing up in costumes as a child?

Butler School kicked off the 100th day of school with a celebration with over 100 community members lining the halls and wishing students and staff a good morning. There were bankers, construction workers, truck drivers, parents, factory workers, nurses, retired people and many others of all ages gathered in the halls sharing high fives and fist bumps. If you were to ask the students about the special guests, they would likely tell you that we were all “old”.

I agree that stereotypes have no place in our society, but never fear, the children at Butler School were not being taught to judge people based upon age or clothing, they were just exploring another way to experience life in fun way, and who doesn’t need that on a cold winter day?

Jeanine Nemitz

Foster Grandparent

director

Fort Dodge

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