By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- As seniors spoke fondly about childhood memories and meaningful life events, students sat, smiled, and listened intently, while caretakers and teachers looked on with full hearts as generations came together for a touching project.
Three times over the past few weeks Jennifer Pope's 10th grade English class from Community Christian Academy walked across the street to the Kane Center to meet up with a group of seniors from the center's adult day program for the first stage of a class project: interviews for a compilation of biographies.
The students went armed with notepads filled with questions and were just a bit nervous, but their anxiety eased as they paired up with seniors who couldn't wait to share their life stories with the students.
"It was heartwarming," said Crystal Edmunds, the Kane Center's Adult Day Healthcare program manager, who was glad to see so many smiling faces and the mutual respect between generations.
The young interviewers asked about favorite childhood games, careers, accomplishments, dreams, even advice for future generations so they could write individual biographies. The seniors were brimming with stories to share.
The students will combine their biographies into a bound book for the Kane Center and then celebrate the lives of the seniors with their friends and family at a book signing in December or January.
"This is inter-generational programming at its best," said Ms. Edmunds, who worked with Community Christian to develop the idea. "It's meaningful and producing something lasting."
The seniors will also receive a copy of their own biography with a photo of the student with whom they spent so much time sharing their life story.
But it wasn't just the seniors who got something out of the experience; the students also enjoyed connecting with their elders.
"They truly care about them," said Ms. Pope, who watched and listened as students returned to class, anxious to share the stories they had heard and begging to visit their new friends again as soon as possible. "This is a great way to make a connection between the generations."
Ms. Edmunds and Ms. Pope hope to make the project that gives seniors the opportunity to be heard and respected by young people an annual one, but Ms. Edmunds also wants to turn the biographies into a series of video interviews.
"It's important to preserve these memories," Ms. Edmunds said.
All in all, lives were touched, lessons were learned and friends were made through the project that brought generations that seldom mingle together.