As the first Scholars Serves event of the year, a couple of students and I were all set to make a “Saturday Café” succeed to our utmost abilities. Students weren’t sure what to expect upon entering Windermere on the Mount, a retirement residence that can easily be mistaken for a luxury hotel. However, after volunteering there this past summer I knew it would be an ideal and exciting addition to the Scholars Serves volunteer group, promoting interaction with the off-campus community.
Assisted by Kayla’s directions, the retirement home vice-president of volunteering and recreation, we began to set up the café in the atrium. I caught a few elderly who were clueless about what was happening, and curiously starring at the sudden surge of coffee, tea, and assortments of cookies coming their way. In five minutes we were all set up and ready to serve the first elderly couple, who took a seat while expressing eagerness to experience this café and student chat event. Within the next ten minutes, chuckles and coffee pervaded the atrium while students were rotating between conversing with over twenty elderly and serving them.
We were amazed with the different stories we heard: one lady I talked to said she has twenty-eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, a man was an archaeologist having traveled to over sixty countries, and another lady had owned twenty-one dogs over the years. Even more interesting was listening to the stories of those who had lived through World War II and gaining insight into their perspectives.
In addition to meeting the residents, they, in turn, learned about who we are and were extremely thankful for the event. One resident told us, “it’s not everyday we get to talk to students. We see the same people everyday and talking to you guys makes us feel young!” Upon leaving, they expressed their happiness and appreciation and they were eager to see us again. “You barely get to see elderly on campus so volunteering here really reminds you that this population of people exists in the community,” says Patricia Barbas, a Scholars Serves volunteer.
We look forward to coming back to you, Windermere on the Mount!