Willowdale Manor Events
We host biweekly intergenerational events bringing together seniors, students and volunteers from the community to alleviate social isolation. Here's how it all began...
In 2022, NeighbourLink received the New Horizons for Seniors Grant to hold intergenerational events in our community. We decided to focus our program on 175 Cummer, also known as Willowdale Manor, a low-income senior home in the neighbourhood. In the spring we went door to door with a survey and muffins to get to know the seniors better and learn about what they would like to see happen in their building. We heard from them that for two years all programs had stopped due to the pandemic and they were feeling more isolated than ever.
Our Summer Event team used the survey to create a program of weekly events. Many of the residents speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi and, Russian and so we brought in student volunteers who speak those languages to get to know the residents. This also helped the different cultural groups connect.
After surveying the residents and speaking with staff we developed 5 intergenerational events for Summer 2022. 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
To Read the Full 2022 Summer Recap Published On Our Blog Click Here
After the summer ended it was clear that this program needed to continue. NeighbourLink was positively impacting the residents and the residents were also having a profound impact on our staff and volunteers. After reviewing feedback surveys and consulting residents we moved forward with the program, entering our 2nd year at Willowdale Manor:
- Dance Classes
- Chair Yoga
- Art Gallery by Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts Students
- Dance Workshop and Performance by Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts Students
- Senior Talent Show
- Paint Night