Building community helps you connect with others and create an engaging, supportive network. It can feel difficult to build community with younger people, especially if you feel you don't have much in common. Finding ways to bond with your grandchildren and younger adults in your area can help you build fulfilling relationships and feel a sense of purpose. These options can help you grow connections.
Finding a volunteer opportunity that you can do with your grandchildren can help you build a sense of community. Not only are you doing work that benefits the community as a whole, but you're also spending meaningful time together. You have the volunteer work in common, which can help you feel like you have a special bond. Consider the interests of your grandchildren and find a volunteer opportunity that will get them excited. For example, if your grandchild loves animals, you might find a local animal shelter where you can help take care of the animals together.
If you don't have grandchildren or they aren't local, look for a volunteer program that interests you. You can grow relationships with the younger adults who volunteer in those programs. You might volunteer at a local library to interact with younger volunteers, for example. Serving on community planning committees, especially ones that interest younger people, could also give you a chance to work with younger adults for the betterment of the community as a whole.
Many schools and community organizations look for volunteers to work with the youth of the community. If you have grandchildren who live nearby, find out if their school needs volunteers. Working in their classrooms lets you see what their daily life is like, which can help you bond. You're also supporting their school, which can help them feel more connected to you.
Many schools allow community members to volunteer even if they don't have children or grandchildren in the school. You can build relationships with the kids you work with in those roles. You might find mentor or foster grandparent volunteer opportunities in your community to connect with younger people in your area.
Getting involved with your church community is another way to connect with younger generations. You can share your faith directly or indirectly by volunteering and participating in those settings. Serving as a youth leader or volunteering as part of your church's groups gives you a chance to meet younger members of the faith community.
Outside of a church setting, you can share your story and experiences in your walk with God. You might pray with your grandchildren and talk to them about your beliefs. When you meet younger people in your community, you can share some of those same experiences. Sharing your faith can encourage the younger generation to strengthen their walk with God while creating a shared experience.
Looking for things you have in common with your grandchildren or young adults in your life can help you build community. These are things you can discuss or do together to have shared experiences. It can sometimes feel like you don't have much in common with people who are significantly younger than you are. However, you might be surprised by the things you discover if you start looking.
To find common interests, start by having conversations and asking questions that could help you find common ground. Be open to trying new things that they're interested in, even if it's not something you've tried or even heard of before. You might also introduce your grandchildren or young adults you know to your interests. For example, you might teach them how to bake your favorite cookie recipe or invite them to join you in your garden.
You have skills and knowledge you can pass on to the next generation while building community. This could be your personal experiences during historical events, specific skills related to your past careers, hobbies you've had for years or anything else you want to share. Sharing that knowledge keeps it going and gives you quality time with younger people to help build community.
Connecting in person isn't the only way to build community with younger people. Technology can expand the opportunities to connect with your grandchildren and other youth. Younger generations often spend a great deal of time on their phones and other forms of technology anyway. Seniors who use technology can meet them where they are to build connections.
Video chat software makes it easier to spend time virtually with your grandkids, especially if you don't live near them. Seeing each other on screen can make your conversations more meaningful and expand the things you can do together virtually. For example, you can read a bedtime story to a young grandchild or do a craft project at the same time via video.
Participating in online communities can help you grow connections with young adults. You might join a group for your city or get involved in an online faith-based group. Actively posting and interacting in these groups can help you get to know the younger participants and grow those relationships. No matter how you use it, technology can remove geographical barriers and let you connect even if you're limited physically by mobility or health issues.