The South Brunswick Senior Center in Monmouth Junction has received an award from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) for its highly successful Living Legacies program.
The award was presented as part of NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers 2012 Programs of Excellence.
Living Legacies is an annual intergenerational event that is the culminating feature of several months’ of preparation between High School students and local senior citizens.
Every spring an original theatre performance, “Living Legacies” created and performed by High School students, brings different themes to the seniors at the South Brunswick Senior Center.
Each year it features a different theme such as: The Veterans’ Stories; Immigration, Our Common Bond; People, Places & Events: South Brunswick’s History; and for 2013, - Celebrating Our Cultural Diversity.
The school gathers students and the Senior Center and their volunteer partner organization Aging in Place, identify seniors within the Township to participate. Using the theme as the starting point for conversations seniors & students begin to meet regularly. Wonderful conversations are held, new things are learned, perspectives are shared and a bond begins to form.
The students then translate what they learned from all these interviews into monologues and then finally into the theatre performance piece presented at the Senior Center for all seniors in town. A reception follows so seniors can then mingle with the students and discuss the show which continues to foster the learning experience. Volunteers are used to take photos and video. Photos of each participating senior are exhibited at the Center and remain the record of the “Living Legacy.”
In some instances a video adds to that “Legacy.”
The South Brunswick Senior Center is a member of the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), the nation’s only program committed to supporting and strengthening the country’s 11,000 senior centers. NISC offers best practices, professional development, advocacy, research, and national standards and accreditation.
“Senior centers play a vital role in helping older adults stay healthy, independent, and connected to their communities,” said James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “We congratulate the South Brunswick Senior Center on its innovative program and hope it can serve as a nationwide model for other senior centers around the country.”
“We are grateful to receive this recognition award but could not have completed this program each year without the support of Jacque Rubel from Aging in Place and the high school students and teachers they are the ones that make this program come to life," said Christine Wildemuth, Director of the South Brunswick Senior Center.
For more information about the South Brunswick Senior Center and its programs for South Brunswick older adults 55+, please visit their website at www.sbtnj.net and click the senior center tab at the top or call 732-329-4000 ext. 7682.
For more information on the National Institute of Senior Centers, please visit www.ncoa.org/NISC.