Students Create New Seniors Helping Seniors Club
Lebanon Valley College has introduced a new club to campus: Seniors Helping Seniors.
The club was founded by President Brandi Whitman '17, an American studies major. She originally thought of the idea during her capstone class when she began to work with the elderly at a local retirement home.
“We’re a teaching club,” Whitman said. “We want to create a hands-on experience, especially for psychology, health science, biology, and education majors.”
The club began in the 2016 fall semester and works with the elderly at Stone Ridge Health Center, Annville Senior Center, and Heath Farm Estate. Club members meet with the seniors at these centers for activities that include crafts, karaoke, bingo, sensory boxes, and more.
Each sensory box has a theme such as fall, sports, or cooking. A cooking box may contain a recipe, a cooking utensil, food scented air freshener, and other cooking items to help stimulate memories through sensory reception. This allows the elderly to share memories from their past.
“Sensory boxes are packed with themed items to reminisce about,” Kara Strack '17, a biology major and the vice president of the club, said. “These boxes are made by club members to cognitively stimulate the minds of the elderly.”
Despite the club name, students of all majors and years are welcome to join. The group aims to positively impact the lives of the elderly in the surrounding community by planning fun events and activities that stimulate them physically and cognitively.
Whitman initially created the club to get LVC students thinking about what they want to do after graduation, leading into their retirement. When Whitman started working at the retirement home, it changed her perspective of what she wanted to do with her degree. She hopes this club can help others determine what career path they want to follow.
“I started thinking about where do I see myself in six months or six years?” Whitman said. “I feel like we are going to classes but not thinking often enough about all possible options with our degrees and what we really want to do in our lives”
To be granted “club” status at LVC, Whitman worked with Jen Evans, director of student activities and the Allan W. Mund College Center, and Matt Winger, the club’s adjunct advisor, to fulfill club requirements and paperwork.
“We’ve had a very successful year with a solid foundation for future success,” Strack said. “The club has changed our lives as volunteers as we make memories with those who are far wiser than us.”
By Rachel Anderson, LVC 430 Feature Writing