Children, families and teachers aren’t the only ones participating in back-to-school activities. Residents of Presbyterian Village North, a premier senior living community in Dallas, are eagerly gearing up for the start of the new school year as well. From hosting a school supply drive to preparing for a happy hour for teachers to signing up for opportunities to mentor students, these seniors are excited to contribute to a good year at Stults Road Elementary. The school supply drive ran from August 4 until August 23. On August 23, PVN welcomed teachers from the elementary school for a happy hour, during which they presented them with all the school supplies and money collected through the drive. The happy hour was a fun event in which retired and current teachers reminisced and talked about how learning environments have changed over time.
“In addition to contributing to the back-to-school drive and happy hour, we have several residents who are expressing interest in becoming mentors for some of the students,” said Leticia Valdez, life enrichment manager of Presbyterian Village North. “Mentors are needed for at-risk students who would benefit from having a trusted and experienced volunteer to listen to them, help them cope with difficult life circumstances and be there for them as a friend. The volunteers meet with their students once a week at lunch time.”
In previous years, one resident-mentor taught his student how to deliver a solid handshake while making eye contact. Another mentor was there for a child after her father passed. One student was homeless, and her grades were suffering because she did not know how to take notes, so her mentor explained why note-taking is important.
“Our residents help the students cope with the world around them,” said Valdez. “Once a week, they share lunch together and go to the library to have special time together. The mentors are able to talk about anything except school subjects. They may read a book, play a game or simply talk. We are excited to have the school counselor come to PVN to deliver a presentation about the mentor program, which will begin after school starts on August 15. PVN loves coming together to give back and make a positive difference in the lives of people in our surrounding community. It is inspiring to see the residents be so generous with their time and resources. This is certainly a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.”