February 2004

PBS Documentary to Feature Giving + Learning Program in Fargo

02-04 Fargo

Translator Haditza Asovic (left) talks with Dragolub Petrovic, Helen Glawe and Mara Petrovic during filming of footage that will be used in a documentary, Aging in America, that will air on PBS in 2005. The Petrovics come to Riverview Place in Fargo, N.D., each week to be mentored by Glawe, who is helping the couple develop their English language skills.

The Giving + Learning Program, a mentoring program sponsored by Riverview Place, Fargo, N.D., will be featured in a documentary on aging and retirement that will air on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in early 2005.

The Giving + Learning Program received grant funding from the Catholic Health Initiatives Mission and Ministry Fund in 2001.

The program matches senior volunteers with new Americans. The seniors act as mentors, helping the immigrants develop English language skills and understand American culture so they can become productive members of the local community and workforce.

A television crew from the Documentary Center at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., visited Fargo in January. "We were trying to find programs where we saw older generations passing on wisdom and life skills," said Jeff Gray, a producer of the documentary, adding that Giving + Learning seemed like "a natural match." Gray’s team learned about the program from a Web site about volunteer programs for retired seniors.