The following was written by AHA Senior Claire Hogan as a culminating project to her Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
We have been anxiously awaiting this meeting and as we jog across the school parking lot as to not be late for our meeting, I am suddenly out of breath. Is it due to my excitement about the task at hand? Alas, it is not, it is my general lack of physical fitness. But that is neither here nor there. We eventually crossed the railroad tracks to the Pines Senior Living Community where we had a meeting with the activities coordinators. We chatted with them about our strangely named "Geriatric Groove," an event that started as a chicken nugget of an idea and has grown into a full Happy Meal. We sat in a board room like professionals, and discussed a little something that has the potential to turn into something more.
The "Geriatric Groove" was originally conceived in our Campus Ministry Team (CMT) Service Learning class. We were asked to create a service project to follow the Jefferson Awards Model in order to ensure success. We decided to go with something that would connect AHA to the community around us. Where better to start than right across the field, at the Pines? It is a great way for students and senior citizens to connect in a fun environment and to really encourage the "seniors for seniors" relationship.
We will be holding a carnival-type event for the members of the Pines Senior Living Community this fall. It will include carnival games, photos, music, and fun, but most importantly it will create a working relationship between AHA and the community around us. We will get to know some of the older members of Richfield and aid a busy staff to plan a fun afternoon for our wisest generation.
I learned a lot about myself during the process, mostly in how I work as a group. It is easiest for me to take the lead in these types of situations. I also learned how to act in a professional setting and to participate in a meeting in order to get work done. We have had an opportunity to look into the inner sanctum that is a retired living home, which is a unique experience for people our age.
Psalm 71:9 says, "Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent." This reminds us that we need to take care of the elderly in our life. They have done so much for us, and they deserve the best care in their twilight years. It is important to treat them with dignity and respect, and that is what we are trying to do with this frivolous event.