Members of the Pelham Memorial High School Interact Club and Pelham Seniors Club participated in a YSOP Connex service program to make blankets for families in need while engaging in lively discussion on many topics on March 24.


The intergenerational group of nine student and senior volunteers have participated in several Connex projects, which are designed to serve the community while offering youth and senior volunteers an opportunity to come together and learn from each other through service and conversation.


“It’s important for students to be able to have this chance to talk about current events and life,” said YSOP Executive Director and founder Edward Doty of Pelham. “There is a great unmet need right now for connecting an aging population with young people, especially as students are at a point in their lives where they are making big choices. These programs give all volunteers a chance to see their neighbors as people, not just as a stereotype of one age group or another.”


YSOP  (Youth Services Opportunities Program) has been developing ways to involve young volunteers in their communities since the 1980s. The pandemic shone light on the growing issues of loneliness and disconnect among seniors, and Mr. Doty saw a chance for YSOP Connex to address the problem.


The blanket volunteer project was an opportunity for the intergenerational volunteers to enjoy each other’s company. 


“It’s so nice just to see everyone having so much fun together,” said Mr. Doty. “I can’t even remember all the conversations I heard today. Once everyone got to know each other, they talked about everything.”


Both groups, students and seniors, plan to continue volunteering and connecting with community members they rarely have other opportunities to interact with. YSOP Connex will continue hosting programs, thanks to funding from a contract from Westchester County facilitated by County Legislator Terry Clements and a grant from the Pelham Civic Association. 


For over 36 years YSOP has engaged youth in meaningful service opportunities for those most in need. For more information about YSOP and how to get involved, please contact  The PMHS Interact Club is a service club affiliated with Rotary Club of the Pelhams.


Photo of student volunteers working on a blanket