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It takes a village — senior citizens to work as mentors in territory’s classrooms

More than 75 senior citizens are back in the classroom, and this time they are mentoring students. They are doing this in all the public high schools, a majority of the elementary schools and two private schools.

Their mission is to help the younger generation in whatever areas the elderly can assist the students. That is the goal of the Toe Afua Mai Matua program that has been ongoing for a while now says the Development Specialist for TAMM, Mrs. Va’alasi Gaisoa.

She added that “elders have all this wealth of knowledge and wisdom that the youth can tap into, and that’s why we feel our program is very useful.”

This program is for the elderly to give lectures to students about the Samoan culture and its rich tradition and way of life.

Mrs. Gaisoa said the seniors can establish relationships with the students, which can lead to a lot of positivity.

“The senior citizens can talk to the students about the problems occurring within their families and sometimes all that the student wants or needs is a handshake, a hug, a small pep talk, someone they can talk to — and that is our mission — to assist them.”

She explained the TAMM program was underway in 2009 and they are part of the National Emergency Grant program. The elderly are working to make a difference in the lives of the young ones, she said.

Mrs. Gaisoa feels that this is their duty – as the knowledge base for our younger generation.

Currently, TAMM is working in every high school and elementary school to ensure that they can effectively work out new ways to help the younger generation, she noted.

The TAMM specialist explained that the senior citizens also underwent intense training courses to prepare themselves for their new roles dealing with students in classes.

The senior citizens have been broken up into groups, she said, in which they will be mentoring at every public high school, a majority of the public elementary and private schools such as Iakina and Samoa Baptist.

The project is driven by the Toe Afua Mai Matua (TAMM) in coordination with the Alliance for Strengthening Families and the Department of Education and TAOA.

Mrs. Gaisoa said the Senior citizens will get paid for their services for the next three months. She added that it’s not an easy task for the elderly to take up these challenges and yet they are doing a great job in helping to guide the younger generation for a better tomorrow.

The TAMM has already formulated its own board of directors and offices for this non-profit organization.