As I child I was surrounded by older relatives. Three of my great grandparents, four grandparents, and numerous great aunts and uncles lived in my hometown. Every holiday included stories from the past and gave my siblings and me a chance to talk about our lives and interests. We learned about what it was like to grow up on a farm and live through the Depression, and our relatives learned about the kind of music we liked and what we were learning in school.
By contrast, my children have no relatives who live in Minnesota. Their exposure to older relatives happens a couple of times a year when they visit us or we go back East. In spite of this, my children have grown up knowing older people because of my work at the Southwest Senior Center.* From a young age they enjoyed talking with seniors at the Center, working with them on computers, serving them lunch and getting to know them. Both they and the seniors have benefited from the interaction.
Because so many families are spread out across the country, it sometimes takes an effort to make sure that different generations are interacting. One of the goals at the Southwest Senior Center is to provide opportunities for intergenerational understanding. Thanks to funding from the City of Minneapolis and the Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG), we have two options for young people to interact with seniors from the community.
“I am … I wonder …” is a week-long intergenerational program for students and seniors. During the program participants will learn a lot about people from other generations and a lot about themselves. Each day will include an art project, exercise and movement, making new friends, and enjoying a healthy snack. Participants will leave with their own handmade books, filled with impressions from the week. Victor Sanchez, an artist and educator, will head up the program.
Program Dates: August 8 – August 12
Place: Southwest Senior Center, 3612 Bryant Avenue South
Time: 9:15 am – 11:45 am
Cost: Recommended donation of $15. No cost for students on free and reduced lunch.
Registration is limited. Please sign up early.
Additionally, people of all ages can take part in our community mosaic project that will begin in late August. Students, seniors, community residents, and artists are invited to help create a 100 square foot mosaic that will be installed at Bryant Avenue Market on the corner of 32nd Street and Bryant.
For more information about our intergenerational or other programs please contact me at 612-822-3194 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Southwest Senior Center is a program of Volunteers of America-Minnesota.