Teens and seniors chatting and playing UNO.
Photo by Mel Rumerman
Grace Chen said she that she was in seventh grade when she first decided she would like to help the elderly.
She connected with Potomac Community Village, a non-profit network of neighbors and friends joined together to allow Potomac seniors to age in place by creating social connections and providing volunteer services such as transportation, computer assistance and simple home repairs.
Grace’s first work with seniors was to help seniors with their computers and cell phones.
Now a rising senior at Winston Churchill High School, she is a member of the organization’s board.
On Aug. 20, she organized the group’s first Intergenerational afternoon of games, cards and crafts at Potomac Community Recreation Center.
About 20 Potomac Community Village members attended, along with seven teenagers.
“The idea is to help seniors lead happier, healthier lives while connected to the community,” Dita Smith, volunteer chair at Potomac Community Village said. “That’s the idea of the youth of the community.”
The two groups became more comfortable as the afternoon went on with conversation, games and lots of laughter.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Joseph Ekren, a rising freshman at Churchill. “I like being able to talk to everybody.”
Joseph said he and the seniors he spoke with talked about what he was learning in school, sports, and their families.
Don Moldover said he and Churchill sophomore Philippe Egoume talked about their roots and backgrounds. With his Jewish heritage, Moldover said his people migrated through many counties. Philippe came to the United States from Cameroon.
They also had sports in common. Moldover said he plays golf occasionally, Philippe plays soccer and is interested in wrestling at Churchill this year.
“This is a good idea,” said Potomac Community Village member Lisa Wang. “The young people need to learn from the older, a lot don’t have grandparents. It’s mutually beneficial.”
Soon everyone pulled themselves away from the talk and games to clean up from lunch, planning to get together again for sure.
Potomac Community Village meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road.
The Sept. 26 meeting will feature Donna Eichelberger from Graceful Transitions on the topic of “Downsizing Your Home.”
For more information, call 240-221-1370, or visit PotomacCommunityVillage.org.