Lawrence Resident Expands Inspiring “Grandpals” Program

Lawrence resident Bob McHugh suspects that the key to deterring early onset of dementia rests in the Grandpals program and has made it his mission to spread it to as many area schools as possible.

Princeton’s Senior Resource Center started Grandpals 20 years ago at Littlebrook Elementary and has since expanded to Riverside, Johnson Park, and Community Park Elementary Schools. Each “Grandpal” (adults 47 years old and older) reads to the same two elementary school children in grades K through 2nd each week for about 30 minutes. The goal of the program is to foster positive intergenerational relationships and to create a love of reading in young children.

McHugh has been participating in Princeton’s Grandpals program for the past four years. Last month, he successfully began a Grandpals program at Bear Tavern Elementary in Hopewell Township, reading to kindergarten classes, and at Wednesday’s Lawrence Board of Education meeting, he asked for support in bringing the program to Lawrence’s elementary schools.

“You should see the expressions on the Grandpals’ faces as they are reading. They’re having a hell of a good time!” said McHugh.

“We are happy to adopt you and will totally support your expansion,” said Dr. Crystal Edwards, Superintendent. “My advice is not to shoot so low. Kids through fifth grade like to be read to also!”

“We’re off and running and I can’t wait to get started!” said McHugh.

Click here to learn more about the Princeton Grandpal program. To volunteer or learn more about the program in Lawrence Township, contact Bob McHugh at (609) 883-5968 or, and in Hopewell Township, contact Randi Knechel at (609) 537-0236 or

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