The Power of Stories

Written by Jacob Cody, WLLC 2015-2016

For our community engagement project, we have been working with Kavod Senior Living Center. It has been quite a burden to find a ride out there every week to have our meetings with Mandie and to participate in the events held at Kavod. Sometimes I was wondering if what we were doing was even worth it or if it was all just busy work.

However, last Tuesday we held a meet and greet event at the Senior Center and it was different than every event we had held thus far. We posted up in front of the dining hall and asked seniors simply just to talk to us in return for entry to a raffle to win a Panera gift card. It was comical because many of the residents couldn’t even talk with us due to a language barrier (most of the residents speak Russian and some speak only Russian). Other residents gave us quite the conversation.

One senior, named Joel, has a hat for nearly every event he is going to. I met Joel for the first time on Tuesday and he was so excited to see me after visiting with Nikky and Nicole a few times. It really made my day with how pleasant he was, as he continued to crack jokes and ask us about our time in college. Another woman took up quite a bit of our time. I don’t remember her name, but she talked with me for over half an hour about her life as a Broadway star while also educating me on economics.

After this rather extensive conversation, I realized that most of these elderly people just want someone to talk to. They’re often ignored in the Senior Living Center, but have a lot of information about themselves and the world to share. This made me realize how we are really helping these people with their social wellness, and how important it is for these people to have someone to talk to. With our final project being a video to encourage visitors to come, it makes me happy that we are doing something that will actually have a positive impact on this community. I realized it is all worth it.

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