True Happiness

December 17, 2012
There are only a few things that really make me tear up, the SPCA commercial on t.v. and seeing elderly people with nobody to accompany them or take care of them in their old age. My grandparents are so important to me and I couldn't imagine every seeing them alone. It truly breaks my heart when I do see elderly people that have been neglected. My mother works in nursing homes and when I go with her to work, I always see so many people alone with no visitors. This hurts me more than anything in the world. So, I decided, why sit and watch this tragedy take place?

This inspired my founding of the organization, Generation Integration, a program to integrate the lives of the youth with the elderly. I started this as a sophomore in one nursing home. Ten people initially joined and had buddies in the nursing home whom they visited once a week. We had three events during the year, a Talent Show where all the volunteers performed for the elderly, a game night and a bingo night. The buddies absolutely loved every moment and every friendship. The impact that has been made is immeasurable. This year I branched off to one more nursing home and eight new members joined us in our fight to end unwanted solitude.

We had our first two events of the year on December 2nd and December 8th 2012. They were both talent shows where volunteers sung, played instruments and read poetry! Many of the senior citizens came up to me at the end to convey how much they enjoyed this sort of program. One lady in particular said, “You know, I am tired of seeing old people, I love seeing young faces, it makes me feel less old!” That is when it really hit me. We as teenagers were providing a sort of release for these elderly people. They have to be in the same setting with the same faces for months on end. As young people we can end up changing this phenomenon by immersing ourselves into their lives. The words we say and the things we do can change someone’s life drastically.

My buddy, Mrs. McClane is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She never fails to have a smile on her face that lights up the entire room. When trials and tribulations blow her way she stays confident and is happy. She enriches my life as a whole. Every time that I visit her she just glows. She always hugs me and never wants to let go. She tells me about her life, her worries and everything that is on her mind at the time. Her family is extremely loving, but they are not available all the time. I am that one friend that can come just to listen to what she has to say and nothing else. It makes me happy that I can be that person for her. I remember one particular day when she made a clay sculpture in her art class. She painted it and put feathers on it. She looked at me and gave it to me with the sweetest look in her eyes. I almost cried, because she was so kind to think of me when she was making it. When I visit her I realize how lucky I am to have the privilege of being her friend.

I feel as though I am able to converse with elderly people in a lighter and more casual tone than with my own peers They are so sweet and seem to have a fresh new perspective of the world, and it ends up being a perspective that I had never thought about before.

As I sit on my bed before I go to sleep I thing of the ways in which the volunteers in our organization are impacting the lives of the elderly. One on one relationships are the most important because they create true connections and make a real difference in people’s lives. Everyone has some calling during their life, and creating Generation Integration was mine. The feeling that I get when I visit my buddy is what true happiness feels like.

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