Volunteers of all ages gave manicures to the residents at Hebrew Home while discussing their life experiences.
By Dexter McCann
The residents of West Hartford’s Hebrew Home were in for treat last Sunday, as volunteers from “GrannyMani,” a volunteer organization that works with seniors, doled out manicures to every resident who wanted one.
While the manicures were being given, the seniors shared some of their life advice and experiences with the volunteers, some of whom were as young as 5 years old.
On the surface, GrannyMani is a volunteer organization that gives manicures, described on the GrannyMani website as a “simple luxury,” to seniors. However, the organization is about more than just nails. The mission statement is to “build intergenerational connections,” and those connections were apparent at the Hebrew Home on Sunday.
Maya Gavin and Grace Carragher, two of GrannyMani’s volunteers, are just 5 years old. When Grace was asked why she wanted to volunteer with GrannyMani, she wrote that she wanted to “help others be safe, sound, beautiful, and to love the world,” and that she wanted to make their [the seniors] hearts feel good.”
In that sense, both Maya and Grace certainly succeeded. The two worked tirelessly to help administer the manicures to the seniors, and earned rave reviews for their work.
“She’s such a pleasure,” one Hebrew Home resident exclaimed after working with Grace.
“She’s an angel,” another remarked after getting a manicure from Maya.
Megan Gavin, the mother of the aforementioned Maya and the founder of GrannyMani, was also at Hebrew Home on Sunday. She started GrannyMani on the back of her own experience with her grandparents, and said that she “shared wonderful memories and moments together doing nails” with them.
With that mind, Gavin started GrannyMani in Virginia in 2014. The program has now migrated to Connecticut, and worked in seven different communities statewide, partnering with the Girl Scouts of Connecticut on several occasions.
Gavin made sure to emphasize the value of the cross-generational bonds formed by participating in GrannyMani. “The older adults really learn from the kids, and the girls really learn from the older adults,” said Gavin.
“We believe that everything in policy starts from kindness and compassion and wisdom … anything you want to talk about starts with teaching kids to be respectful to all people early … that’s why we get them in here early to learn from people who are expects at life,” Gavin added.
Lilly Carragher, another GrannyMani volunteer, reiterated many of the points made by Gavin when talking about what inspired her to get involved.
“I just thought it was such a great idea, and as my daughter is becoming older, I think it’s important to show her the importance of volunteering, connecting with the community, and especially doing so with different generations.”
Her daughter Grace worked as a volunteer, and said her favorite part of the program was “doing the nails” and making friends with the Hebrew Home residents.
On the whole, the Hebrew Home residents were thrilled with both their manicures and the opportunity to spend quality time with the volunteers in attendance. Smiles and laughs were plentiful among volunteers and seniors alike.
More info about GrannyMani can be found on their website.
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