Building Generational Bonds
A common assumption is that once people move into a retirement community, their access to people of younger generations will be limited to visits from grandchildren. At Paradise Valley Estates, this is not the case at all. The community’s Life Enrichment Department creates many opportunities for PVE residents to mentor and have fun with younger citizens living nearby.
We have established a wide-ranging relationship with a local high school that has yielded several excellent traditions. We work with the school’s ROTC and some of our many retired military officers mentor the kids with educational and career goals. The ROTC color guard works with our patriotic committee to enhance our patriotic celebrations. Participating officers host formal dinners and brunches for the ROTC youth and have visited the high school to make historical presentations. One fun event was a fashion show featuring our residents’ wedding gowns modeled by local high school girls. There are car washes, holiday decorating and, at the end of each school year, PVE hosts a Senior/Senior Ball where our seniors and the high school seniors get dolled up for an elegant evening of dancing.
PVE also works with youth from local elementary schools, Girl Scouts and churches on events such as cookie decorating, bible study and walker washes. We have ben blessed to enjoy children’s choir performances and even had a pen pal program with a local second grade class of 50 kids that culminated in a huge ice cream social where the pen pals met one another.
What has been interesting to note through all of these programs is that intergenerational experiences enrich the lives of all who are involved. One resident once commented that she doubted that kids really wanted to come and dance with all of these older people. But when she saw the authentically enthusiastic participation of the kids, she knew she was wrong.
In a society that often segregates generations, it’s wonderful to be part of a community that gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate people of all ages. At PVE, we understand each generation has something unique to contribute and that their efforts can be enjoyed and appreciated by all.