Young and old come together over monthly projects
Construction paper, conversations and spontaneous singing filled the air Tuesday in Nicole Maxon’s first grade class at Phillips Elementary school as residents of Glenwood Retirement Community came for their monthly visit with the students.
One of the crafts of the day was to make a “love bug” for Valentine’s Day and some of the seniors were getting help from the young creative minds.
“This takes me back to when I used to do this with my grandkids, who are all grown now,” said Argyle Clarke, one of the Glenwood residents who likes to participate in this partnership every month.
When asked if he enjoyed the monthly visits, Jackson Moore, one of the students with whom Clarke was seated, nodded enthusiastically.
“I love it. I love to do crafts and it reminds me of my grandparents,” he said.
“And we get to have a party at the end, right?” Clarke added.
The purpose of the school visits — and sometimes the children go out to Glenwood — is to bridge the gap between the generations, according to Maxon.
“The kids were a little nervous at first to meet new people but now that we’ve been having our friends come for a few months, the kids are excited and asking when they’re going to come back,” she said. “I think it helps them to know there are other adults they can trust and that they enjoy the same things.”
The program with Glenwood is now in its second year and Lesa Casto, independent living activity coordinator, said the residents get as much out of the visits as the students do, if not more.
“They just adore it and really look forward to these visits,” Casto said. “The students understand the age difference but they don’t use that as a deciding factor of whether they’re friends with us or not.”
She also had nothing but praise for the teachers at Phillips who, she said, go above and beyond to bring experiences like these to the students.
Bob Oliver, who has lived at Glenwood for the past year and a half, shared stories with the children about his namesake, General Robert E. Lee, and his school days in Bartlett.
“We had the elementary school and high school all in one building. It’s gone now but it was just an old country school. Nowhere near as big as this,” he said.
Maddy Patterson, a student at Oliver’s table, had no trouble at all completing the first craft and she offered Oliver some assistance gluing on the legs of his construction paper creature.
“You glue this here like this,” Patterson instructed. “There, now he looks good.”