Virginia Beach, VA – April 13, 2004 – When ‘Uncle Joe,’ recently passed away, his young friends from Arrowhead Elementary School in Virginia Beach went to Sentara Village Norfolk where he lived, and decorated a door in his memory.
Such is the affection that has grown over the last seven years through a reading program coordinated by Barbara Ackison, activities director at Sentara Village Norfolk, an assisted living facility run by Sentara Life Care.
Sentara Village Norfolk is barely a mile from the school in neighboring Virginia Beach, and city boundaries melt as assisted living residents visit Arrowhead monthly for reading sessions with students. As some of the volunteers advance in age and can no longer travel to the school, students send them cards and notes of encouragement. Students also visit Sentara Village for special programs, decorate residents’ doors for the holidays, and display their art throughout the complex.
The program recently received a Model Partnership Award from the Virginia Beach Public Schools.
"It has been a great intergenerational experience for both the young and old," says Joanne Chupik, Home for Adults Administrator with Sentara Life Care. "Out of 85 schools in Virginia Beach, we are very proud to receive one of the 16 Partnership awards presented this year."
"This is just one way Sentara serves the community," says Sentara Life Care President Mary Blunt. "It’s a terrific partnership among our staff who organized the program, the residents who volunteer to read, and the kids who enjoy their visits. It’s a wonderful way for older people to remain active and volunteer."
Sentara Village Norfolk and the other award recipients will be honored May 27th at an awards breakfast at the Virginia Beach Pavilion.