Forming new friendships with older people
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loved giving the stickers, pencils, agendas, and snowflake ornament prizes to the victorious seniors as they enthusiastically shouted “Bingo!” after accumulating a line of numbers and played until each one of us was a winner.
Whether it was sugary holiday cookies, ringing jingle bells, or classic holiday songs, a vivid sense of the holiday spirit and cheer radiated through the center. Club members enjoyed themselves and were thrilled to notice that the few senior citizens there all really enjoyed themselves too. The ubiquitous “Thank you!” after each cookie, holiday card, and awarded prize made it clear that the senior citizens appreciated our time spent with them. Both the club members and senior citizens are looking forward to additional intergenerational experiences and another exciting visit during the holiday season next year.
“It was really nice to have the high schoolers here. They paid attention and listened to us, making us feel very special,” one of the woman seniors said when the event was ending.
Her smile and slight chuckle of satisfaction was enough to deem our mission a success. Not only did we promote the value of world languages, we touched the hearts of those who often need a simple pat on the back, words of encouragement and some new people to talk to during a very special time of year where solidarity triumphs as a unifier between us all.