This summer at Willowdale Manor was unforgettable for the entire NLNY marketing & events team. It all started when Maria Speare, NLNY’s Operations Manager, came across the New Horizons Grant. Filled with excitement and driven by a desire to impart meaningful change, she and Sebastian Biasucci, NLNY’s Manager of Events decided to spend the grant on a summer workshop/event program at Willowdale Manor for the amazing seniors there! Then came the spectacular summer student team to help make Maria's and Sebastian’s dream a reality: Sonia Singh, Marketing Coordinator; Alexandra Singh, Event Coordinator; and Maria Ferrer, Event Coordinator.
After surveying the residents and speaking with staff we developed 5 intergenerational events. They were:
1. 'Board Games and Good Company' NLNY wanted to help bridge that gap by encouraging seniors to come out of their bubbles so that they felt welcomed, included, and joyful.
2. ‘Musical Therapy Workshop' The workshop consisted of a melodic performance by Thyra Andrews, a singer, and certified music therapist, followed by an interactive workshop with musical bells.
3. ‘Physio & Storytelling’ was all about getting seniors, volunteers, and NLNY staff moving and energized while following the lead of the passionate physio, Surabhi Veitch! Following the wonderful physio class, seniors got together for the ‘tell’ portion of the event, where they shared interesting stories of their youth and favourite memories!
4. ‘Art Class’ NLNY’s own Community Youth Worker, Alyssia, led the artistic talents of both the youth volunteers and seniors in attendance through sketching and painting, with many talented individuals exerting their talents at the event!
5. 'Live Music & Lunch' The concert featured a live performance from Marcus Schwan, Sara Mar, the adorable students of the Willowdale School of Music, and two heartwarming performances by seniors from Willowdale Manor. Throughout the concert, the seniors enjoyed a delicious meal from Mezza Notte with the company of all the youth volunteers!
Thank you to the Canada Government for the grant, our incredible volunteers, Yonge Cafe & Bistro, Mezza BNotte Restaurant, Willowdale Manor Staff, and all the wonderful residents we now consider friend