Summer Storytelling Series Brings Together Student Volunteers and Older Adults
Link Generations’ third annual six-week Summer Storytelling Series at Ingleside at King Farm continued to be a growing success, increasing from 30 participants in 2017 to 50 in 2019. The program met two afternoons each week during the summer. On Tuesdays, middle and high school volunteers learned about basic principles of aging and on Thursdays, residents joined volunteers for intergenerational activities.
Some of the most popular activities have included themes like favorite movies and spirituality. Volunteers learned how residents watched movies when they were children and were able to compare it to how movies were shown today. One of the older adult residents said that her favorite lesson learned from a movie was to “be grateful for what you have when you have it.”
In the program about spirituality, Ingleside’s chaplain Anne Ellestad taught student volunteers about spirituality as one of the dimensions of health. We learned that spirituality is about how we find meaning and purpose in our lives and how we use our values to make decisions. Residents and volunteers talked about spirituality during the intergenerational session and learned valuable lessons for life’s journey. Some of these words of wisdom included:
- Best friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but they are always there.
- Don’t look back unless you’re seeing how far you have come.
- The people around you make you who you are and shape your personality.
Fly Me To The Moon
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Ingleside and Link Generations teamed up to throw a “Fly Me to the Moon” party. Volunteers learned all about the moon landing and the events leading up to it through a presentation shown by Link Generations Summer Intern Luke Frankel, a Walt Whitman High school student. The presentation included facts about the Apollo Program, the Space Race, and showed various clips from the moon landing and even President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech to Congress announcing his dream to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
On Thursday, residents from Ingleside joined student volunteers to commemorate the historic event by attending the “Fly Me to the Moon” party. At the party, volunteers talked with the residents about where they were during the moon landing and how they felt seeing a man on the moon. There was plenty of delicious moon-themed food at the party, such as Milky Way candy bars, Cosmic Brownies, Starburst, and astronaut ice cream.
Moon trivia during the party taught everyone new and interesting facts about the moon. Footsteps from the astronauts’ first expedition on the moon still remain there today. The “one small step for man” that Neil Armstrong described is literally still on the moon today!
Making Connections With Music
The next Tuesday, Ingleside’s music therapist Kelsey Tucker taught the student volunteers how music stimulates both sides of the brain, and that it can create new pathways for neurons to travel within the brain. One cool thing we learned is that music can be used to help people who have had a stroke learn how to walk again.
The last week of the program consisted of a celebratory ice cream party and reflection of our time together. Volunteers and residents discussed what was similar and different between the two generations and shared life lessons learned during the program. Favorite life lessons:
- Be the best you!
- No matter where you live welcome newcomers.
- Try to be kind and always help others.
- Life doesn’t change too much, just the technology.
- The failures of your life are what contributes to your success.
Intergenerational Summer Games
Link Generations added weekly afternoons of summer games at Charles E. Smith Life Communities Ring House. Student volunteers learned about games from the residents’ generation and taught residents new games from today. Volunteers and residents felt connected when playing games like Scrabble, which was created in the 1930’s but is still popular today. Other favorites were Uno, Gin Rummy, Connect Four, and Apples to Apples.
Recruiting Link Generations Club leaders: now is the time
to start a club at your school to plan intergenerational activities for you and your friends. Earn community service credit (SSL hours), practice communication skills, build your college resume, meet interesting people of all ages, and have fun!
Planning for the next school year?
Middle school and high school students lead monthly intergenerational
activities at Charles E. Smith Life Communities Ring House Sundays, 1-3pm.
Dates for next year:
- Sept. 15
- Oct. 20
- Nov. 17
- Dec. 15
- Jan. 12
- Feb. 9
- March 15
- April 19