SHARING PRECIOUS MOMENTS WITH SUNRISE SENIORS
Sunrise Interages Program
For thirteen years, St. Mary’s students have been visiting senior residents from Sunrise Senior Living. In 2001, Mrs. Sweet’s Kindergarten class started making visits to this center as a community service project. This was adopted later through an Interages program ran through Montgomery County. The program is now done through the Jewish Council for the Aging, Heyman Interages Center, and has been expanded to include our 7th grade students.
Kindergarten and 7th Grade students rotate every other Tuesday walking over to Sunrise to engage in age appropriate social activities facilitated by Janel Peters (Sunrise program leader) and the Heyman Interages Center. The activities for the Kindergarten class consist of singing songs, arts and crafts, and spending time getting to know the residents through storytelling and conversation. The seniors at Sunrise give smiles and hugs to each of the Kindergarten students. There is a special bond that develops the moment the two groups interact with one another.
The 7th graders spend their visits learning about the residents through literature, poem writing and interviewing a special senior. Students pair up with a senior friend and spend the year sharing their life adventures with them and in turn the residents share their life story with the students. The interviews are published by the students and read to each Sunrise Resident at the end of the year in May. The moments they share together become a great memory building activity for the seniors and a historical learning adventure for the 7th graders.
We end the year with hosting a celebration here at St. Mary’s School. It is wonderful to see the residents come over and reminisce about their school days. They are entertained through a Kindergarten play performance followed by the 7th grade presentation of the Sunrise Senior Biographies. The program is far reaching and many of the students continue to visit the residents over the summer.
For more information about this program, contact Mrs. Sweet, Kindergarten Teacher or Mrs. Bowling, 7th Grade Reading Teacher.