Bayview’s Intergenerational Children’s Center is part of what makes Bayview so unique. Bridging the generations not only enriches the lives between children and residents, but fosters stronger, healthier communities. We were fortunate enough to be able to sit down and learn a little bit more about our brand new director, Mary Ho!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: I started working with children when I was studying Child Development at San Jose State University in California. After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2000, I was a teacher and program specialist at various centers before I joined Bayview’s Intergenerational Children’s Center (ICC) as a Program Supervisor in 2009. After being promoted to ICC Director in 2020, I received emails from our CEO, Nancy Weinbeck, and other Bayview members congratulating me with my new position. I felt both excited and intimidated, because I knew that I had big shoes to fill. The contribution to ICC of Jackie, our beloved former Center Director, was undoubtedly tremendous! Knowing that I have support from the entire Bayview community was especially reassuring.
Q: What do you love best about Bayview’s ICC?
A: What I love best about Bayview’s ICC is how it is interconnected. Staff, children, and parents feel like members of a family. We support one another the way a family does. All of ICC’s members have one thing in common: the forever fascinating development of each of the ICC’s children. Needless to say, I feel blessed to be a member of the ICC family.
Q: The ICC is inside Bayview, a retirement community – why? What makes the ICC so special?
A: At Bayview’s ICC, we believe that intergenerational relationships are an essential part of life. This includes the bonds created between grandparents and grandchildren. For children, it provides connection with the past and opportunity to grow and learn from their elders. For seniors, it fosters a vital sense of meaning, contribution, and connection to the next generation. That’s why Bayview’s ICC is so special. It offers a unique opportunity for ICC’s children to interact with Bayview’s residents. It is heartwarming to hear the joyful laughter of ICC’s children, and to feel the genuine happiness of Bayview’s residents during such interactions. COVID restrictions may have paused the physical interactions but we’ve found creative ways in keeping engagement up.
Q: What’s your vision for ICC in 2021?
A: This question makes me pause for a moment. There’s so much going on in the world – racial division, political upheaval, social and economical disparity – all amidst the backdrop of a pandemic. One of the advantages of persevering through this pandemic together is that we also want to come out of it together. We want to come out of it stronger. We have an obligation to teach our younger generations the value of friendship, unity, diversity, equality, and equity in our community. I feel the very core of Bayview’s Intergenerational activities and programming will continue to fulfill this vision. With the promise of a vaccine, my hope is that we will be able to expand our programming and activities that promote intergenerational relationships towards the second half of 2021.
Q: How is ICC adapting to COVID restrictions and COVID era?
A: I would like to extend a huge thank you to all ICC staff for their commitment in following our strict COVID-19 procedures. The dedicated and dynamic group of ICC teachers carry the weight of protecting each other, our students, and the greater community through strict infection control protocols and added duties. I would also like to thank all ICC parents for being proactive in keeping our community safe and healthy. With the use of digital technology, we have also been very fortunate to be able to pivot a lot of our programming. These include an amazing virtual Halloween Dance Party, ICC Thanksgiving video to Bayview’s residents, story time with beloved Grandma Pat, and a Zoom Holiday Dance Party! We have also been offering virtual tours to prospective parents during this time. Even a pandemic cannot stop us from celebrating our traditions!
Q: If there is only one thing you could share about ICC to the community, what would you want to share?
A: The success and safety of Bayview’s ICC is reliant on my amazing staff. Thank you for being a calming and consistent presence for the students each day. Our intergenerational programs between residents and children may have halted due to COVID-19 but our center continues to be filled with laughter.
Bayview’s Intergenerational Children’s Center provides a safe and nurturing environment for infant, toddlers, and preschoolers. Call ICC Director, Mary Ho at 206.281.5786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enrollment information.