Charitable Choices: Veronica Grossi of Volunteer Grandparents

Veronica Grossi, the Program Manager at Volunteer Grandparents, was a pleasure to discuss multigenerational relationships with. After a very insightful interview, we learned so much about the work she has done for nearly two decades. Volunteer Grandparents operates with the mission to “bridge and enrich the generations” by encouraging intergenerational understanding, communication, and cooperation. The organization runs three core programs: the Family Match Program, the School Grandparent Program, and the Letters to Seniors Program, all aimed at meeting the social and emotional needs of both older adults and families.

Volunteer Grandparents

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Volunteer Grandparents endeavour to support and encourage multigenerational relationships and the concept of the extended family. Our mission is to “bridge and enrich the generations” by fostering intergenerational understanding, communication, and cooperation between the generations. Volunteer Grandparents provides three main programs: the Family Match Program, the School Grandparent Program, and the Letters to Seniors Program.

What problem does it aim to solve?

The program is designed to meet the social and emotional needs of older adults and families. The emphasis is on the creation of long-term extended family relationships. The program has been providing seniors with the opportunity to be an important member of a family, enabling them to share time, love, skills, and life experiences, while offering families the support, love and wisdom of caring seniors. Areas that we serve: Burnaby, New Westminster, Northshore, and Vancouver.

When did you start/join it?

I joined the organization 18 years ago. My background is in Family and Nutritional Sciences and Gerontology. The organization has been delivering programs for over 50 years!

What made you want to get involved?

I found the mission of the organization very appealing. The opportunity really meshed with my educational background and work experience; it pulled all my passions together. I want to be an integral part of fighting social isolation and decreasing ageism. It is so important to feel connected and supported in our community.

What was the situation like when you started?

When I started at Volunteer Grandparents in 2006, there had been no one in my position for an extended period of time. As a result, there was a lot of self-learning involved. I had to master the ins and outs of the role and figure out how to fulfil the duties through lots of research and practice. I spent time learning about the organization’s history and policies, as well as how to screen and support volunteers properly. This role has always been part-time.

How has it changed since?

The stability and continuity of my role have played an integral part in the success of our organization. It takes time to meet and get to know the participants. Forming this important connection with volunteers and families has enabled us to create fantastic long-term intergenerational matches. Creating a grandparent-grandchild match takes time and lots of nurturing. The bond that forms is not immediate. Our volunteer grandparents need to be consistent, reliable, caring and patient and parents and youth need to be fully engaged in our program.

What more needs to be done?

It would be nice to have more funding to increase program capacity. I would love to be able to serve everyone who is interested in our program.

How can our readers help?

Volunteer as a Volunteer Grandparent, School Grandparent, or Letters To Seniors Volunteer

Donate through Canadahelps

Do you have any events coming up?

We tend to promote our organization at different events in our community. We just had a table at Hats Off Day in Burnaby (picture attached). Reach out to us if you want to help!

Where can we follow you?

Website | Facebook | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Volunteer Burnaby


About Emilea Semancik 155 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: