The new year gets many people thinking about unfulfilled wishes. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, or fly a glider.
Two young Nova Scotia women decided to make those dreams come true for seniors in the province.
Katie Mahoney and Cara Chisholm founded We Are Young in 2015. The volunteer-run association grants wishes for senior Nova Scotians.
“A lot of our elders — especially in our province — have given up their dreams and aspirations for their families to give them their best lives,” Mahoney says.
“Putting their dreams on the back burner has really given us a purpose to fulfil them.”
Nominees must be 70 or older and live in Nova Scotia. The wishes must be experiences. Sponsors and donors help with cost and the We Are Young team makes it happen.
“This generation is so humble that they often forget that they should be doing things for themselves,” Chisholm says.
Jim Legge had held a secret wish to fly a glider since he was a teenager. His daughter nominated him to We Are Young and soon enough he was quoting poetry as he slipped the surly bonds of earth.
Joan Decker got a rainbow tattoo to honour her late husband and son.
Marian Creelman took the “trip of a lifetime” to Toronto. She stayed at the Royal York Fairmont hotel in her first-ever trip to Toronto and went to a live taping of the Marilyn Denis Show.
Mahoney and Chisholm both work full time, and Chisholm has a 10-month-old baby. They use their free time to volunteer with We Are Young.
They paid their own way to accompany Marie Greenwood to the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York City.
“The look on her face was just astounding. She was watching the balloons go by like a little kid,” Chisholm says. “It ignites a youth-like quality in our elders and sparks a fire: ‘I’m not too old and can still do the things I love.'”
We Are Young has granted 10 wishes so far and hopes to grant many more. The experiences have created a bond between old and young.
“It’s like we’ve collected 10 grandmothers and grandfathers,” Mahoney says.