Young and old brought together by inspiring new program

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Watch the report from Jeannette Reyes that aired on Action News at 5 p.m. on April, 4, 2017. (WPVI)

What happens when you mix a group of senior citizens with a bunch of inquisitive kindergartners?

A new program in Delaware County is exploring that exact concept, and the results are nothing short of inspiring.

Every Tuesday at the Riddle Village Retirement Community in Media, Pa., a transformational gathering of sorts takes place.

For nearly two hours the very young and the very old are paired up, and what happens next is almost magical.

"Some (of the residents) have relatives that live a distance, so it's nice to have the kids here," said Maria Smith of Riddle Village.

"Their eyes light up when they see the children," said Debbie Mignogna from the YMCA.

It's an intergenerational program first pitched by Mignogna and made possible with the help of several staff members who bus in over a dozen kindergartners from the YMCA of Eastern Delaware County.

"The one who doesn't talk that much - just the big smile that was on his face, just the smile," said Maria Smith.

Take for example the budding friendship between Mr. Walter, a reserved man of very few words, and his new buddy Charlie Parker, who's become quite the helper.

"He's my friend ... because we do good stuff together," said Charlie.

He even wanted Mr. Walter to visit for Grandparents Day.

"Just yesterday I said, 'Are your grandparents coming?' And he said, 'Yes, they are coming, but I would like Walter to come as well," said Mignogna.

Though the program is still in its infancy, the results so far have been heartwarming.

"It gives me a facet of life that I wouldn't have otherwise," said resident Harry Yohn.

This collaboration has been so successful that organizers say they are already working out partnerships with nearby facilities to establish something similar.

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