Mary Freeman, a retired Salem teacher, called the need to be around younger people a natural desire. Freeman, who is 86, lives at Aviv with her husband and reads to the children every week.
“I love being with the little ones. They make you feel almost like a celebrity when you read to them,” she said. “They make you feel so welcome. They get up and clap when I walk in. when I leave they give me a hug. They’re like little dolls.
“I love their innocence. They tell you everything that’s happening in their lives and it has nothing to do with the story. And they can’t tell it fast enough. I get a lot out of it.”