Candice Anvari staff writer
A “ordinary looking” lady in a wheelchair was not very talkative until sophomore Maya Goldkorn decided to talk to her and learn she was a nurse in World War II. Goldkorn decided to start the Generations Club to connect with senior citizens on a “deeper level” and to learn about their life stories.
The Generations Club visits elderly homes, and the club members play music for the residents and learn about their stories. The club visited The Watermark once and Belmont Village three times; at The Watermark, they helped set up Halloween decorations and they played board games with the residents, but at Belmont Village, they did arts and crafts with the residents who have dementia.
Goldkorn always enjoyed spending time with senior citizens throughout her childhood because she was interested in hearing their “wise life advice.” She was motivated to start Generations because of her experience volunteering at a senior home in Israel.
“I was in Israel a few years ago with a youth group. While I was there, I volunteered at a senior assisted living facility and I really enjoyed my time volunteering,” Goldkorn said. “Also, in sixth grade, I started playing piano in different senior centers and I automatically connected with the senior citizens.”
Sophomore Lea Ankri was inspired by Goldkorn’s passion for the club, so she decided to join Generations toward the middle of first semester.
“The way Maya explained the club made me feel really happy, and it made me want to be part of the older generation because they’re so wise and you can learn so much from them,” Ankri said.
Goldkorn and Ankri noticed that the elderly people they visited were welcoming to their visitors and they were eager to talk. Goldkorn wants people to understand that even though a person is old, they still have many stories to share. However, she thinks people don’t take the time to listen.
“I love talking to these people because whenever we visit, everyone there is so unique and they tell you stories that you can’t compare to stories your friends tell you in school,” Goldkorn said. “I’m happy the people in my club are able to get this experience because it all feels so good once you’re in the moment.”
When the club visited Belmont Village, Ankri felt nervous to play music for the residents, with fellow club member Chloe Levine, and to introduce herself to new people.
“The people in Belmont were very kind and welcoming, so even though I was nervous they made me feel comfortable introducing myself,” Ankri said. “It’s easier for me to speak to the residents now because they’re all so nice.”
Goldkorn observed how many of her club members began taking the initiative to start a conversation once they felt more comfortable meeting new people.
“I think it’s a challenge for everyone to make conversations with strangers, but I’m really proud of the effort everyone’s putting forth,” Goldkorn said. “The elderly always treat us like adults, which makes it easy to have an intelligent conversation with them.”
Generation’s Communications Director sophomore Kevin Manavi watched the club progress through problems and feels the same joy the others do when he visits the senior homes. He joined the club at the beginning of the year because he appreciated how organized it was. Manavi hopes he can help Goldkorn plan more events for this semester.
Goldkorn has more goals for the future, but she wants to take “small steps” so she can meet her bigger goal.
“What I want to start doing, like the next step for me personally, is to start interviewing the residents there because I think that everyone has a story,” Goldkorn said. “You don’t need to be a war hero to have stories from different times and from periods of times that we have never experienced.”