Written by Nikky Johnson, WLLC 2015-2016
I was lucky enough to be partnered with the Kavod Senior life community project, and already, we have a set plan for creating and promoting a visitor program for the lovely residents at the senior center. Mandie Birchem, our partner, is new to the Kavod family as well, but she has already worked on implementing a health and wellness center in the top floor of their building. Though we offered to help in anyway with this project, the health and wellness center is currently being renovated, thus nothing can really be done at the moment. Mandie, Jacob, Nicole, and I decided upon the idea of a visitor program, in order to promote the visitation of elementary, middle school, high school, and college students.
The idea came to me from when I was a little girl, and my mom would take my twin sister and I to the senior center in Jackson Hole to play violin for the residents and pass out cookies. At the time, I though this was some type of torture my mother had thought of for my sister and I, but looking back I realize now that it transformed the resident’s days. Very rarely did visitors come to the center, and in most cases the residents were alone in Jackson, with family in other states. Or, sadly, many were forgotten about… And so, every Saturday night my mother would make cookies while my sister and I practiced and created a program to preform for the residents the next day. After church on Sunday, we would drive to the senior center, and play our violin songs while our mother chatted with the residents and passed around cookies. Sometimes, my sister and I would recruit our friends to come with us, and some would preform or join our mother in learning more about the residents. These Sundays, we left the senior center feeling like we had made a difference in someone’s day; we had been the reason the resident’s souls had been lifted and they were suddenly a little happier. We had learned about these people with immense and adventurous pasts, and we had brought smiles and laughs to their day.
With this in mind, when we met with Mandie, I thought of the idea of a visitor program. I knew that many residents become lonely, and visitors help to perk up these situations. The plan is to make a promotional video to send to schools, community programs, and other communities in order to promote visiting the seniors of Kavod. Jacob, Nicole, and I plan on spending time with the residents, going to events with them (like bingo, wii bowling tournament, fitness hour, book club, etc.), and Mandie is organizing a community social in which the residents can come and meet with us, get to know us, and begin to build relationships with us. While doing so, we will film our experience and ultimately, create a video to hand out to community organizations. I can’t wait to begin to get to know these residents with such unique and complex pasts. It should be a great adventure.
“Kavod Blog.” Kavod Senior Life, 2014. Web. Photo <http://www.kavodseniorlife.org/beyond-kavod-senior-life-meaning-behind-subbrands/>.
“Kavod Health and Wellness.” Kavod Senior Life, 2014. Web. Photo <http://www.kavodseniorlife.org/tag/donor/>.