Thursday May 03, 2018
For the past two years, South Burlington High School (SBHS) sophomore Carissa Casey has been a volunteer at the South Burlington Recreation and Parks Young at Heart group. Casey helps serve lunch and run the monthly bingo game. When asked what she enjoys most about spending time with the seniors group that meets weekly, she says, “They all have stories. It’s nice to hear stories of things that I wasn’t around for.”
As a student leader in SB Mentoring, the school-based program that helps students find their passions and interests, Casey and her mentor of six years Liz Siddle were brainstorming how they might inspire more students to get involved with Young at Heart. Pointing out Casey’s “fierce love of games” and her social skills, Siddle suggested an event with board games. Before long, the two had put together a plan that included a list of potential board games and inviting all Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School and SBHS SB Mentoring student leaders. Young at Heart Coordinator Kathleen Cote responded that she “loved the idea of students coming to play a variety of games with the seniors,” and so a date was set.
Earlier this year, 18 SB Mentoring student leaders and six mentors walked over to city hall to spend an hour engaging with the Young at Heart members playing cards and other games including Sleeping Queens, Rack-O, Yahtzee, Sorry, Jenga, and Connect Four.
“One of my favorite things was seeing the people at Young at Heart and the middle schoolers interact with one another – playing games, laughing,” Casey reflected.
“We so enjoyed the visit,” added Cote. “Many people commented on how well-mannered the students are and they were happy to have them visit.”
As Casey considers ways to continue this kind of partnership between Young at Heart and SB Mentoring, she notes how important these multigenerational opportunities are for students. “When you hear the stories from the seniors, you understand that life wasn’t always like what it is today; there were a lot of struggles. Every parent tries to have a better life for their child than they had. And I feel you get a better appreciation for your life when you hear those stories.”