Community Service is not always defined as intense labor to better one’s surroundings. Service also includes bettering the lives of others. That stated, I feel that the 2010-2011 Superintendent Youth Leadership Council should give back not just time, but youthful interaction with the senior citizens within the Wesley Meadows Retirement Community. A visit to this community by the Superintendent Youth Leadership Council and possible additional students could prove beneficial to all involved and create lifelong relationships with its practicality.
A gathering or celebration among young and old is certainly rare in today’s hectic and busy society. Therefore it is ideal for the Superintendent Youth Leadership Council to provide a celebration with a central theme to connect generations. Timeless board games such as chess or checkers continually provide their strategic challenges that people of all ages enjoy. To make this possible, a simple phone call would need to be made to the retirement community director to inquire about a possible date to plan “Game Night” between residents and youth. This night or afternoon may provide the opportunity, if planned in October, for a Halloween theme to be established. All participants may dress accordingly and enjoy food and drink while socializing and strategizing with residents. This one night will break the monotony of senior living and tie generations together.
An extension of this project might involve inquiry about providing other enhancements for the community, such as, benches, flower bed materials, flowers or books and games which the Superintendent Youth Leadership Council can obtain through donations by Lowe’s, Home Depot, or any superstore willing to partner and give back. Outside of the Superintendent Youth Leadership Council, organizations such as chess clubs may also relish the opportunity to play with those who enjoyed the game before these high school students were even born. Members of the SYLC might facilitate these matches within their individual schools.
Fortunately this project is not just easily planned, but practical and cost effective as well. “Game Night” would allow seniors to interact with youth outside of their families. This not only benefits the seniors but also allows students without a grandfather or grandmother to find that connection. The council and other participants are also given the unique opportunity to converse with the people who were present in the times that are written in the history books students study every semester. The residents experienced the miracles of the 20th century. They saw the evolution of automobiles and the headlines stating man on the moon. They knew those who fought and died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. They elected Nixon and observed technology’s soaring flight. All of these topics would be open forum during “Game Night” from the opening move through checkmate.
These people are people of Desoto County Mississippi. They are not the absentminded donation to some far away foreign country in need, but the people who breathe the same fresh Mississippi air. This project allows SYLC to serve the members of their own community, their neighbors. Giving back in one’s own community is not a game. The Superintendent Youth Leadership Council should work first at home then broaden the horizons and explore possibilities.