“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
Aging Well at Home, a JF&CS wellness program designed to help keep people feeling vibrant and healthy in their own homes, co-hosted A Day of Giving Back with Washington Square Minyan, a lively, egalitarian Jewish community in Brookline. The two communities came together at The Village at Brookline residential apartment building. Older adults from the Aging Well at Home program paired with folks from the Washington Square Minyan made 34 “baby bundles,” beautifully packaged, essential baby products for clients of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support. There were children, their parents, young adults, some recent college graduates, and older adults all working together.
Valerie, 71, said, “For me having neighboring communities coming together to give back and do something positive was fulfilling and fun.” Pearl, 85 shared, “What I enjoyed was that it was a nice change to work with a different community other than those we already know. To be part of doing something that helps families with new babies was a fantastic idea. Thanks for the privilege of being part of this.”
Ava Harder, JF&CS volunteer services manager, noted that even during lunch, everyone stayed and mingled together, swapping stories and making connections. As people were gathering their coats and leaving, I saw an exchange between a 10-year-old boy and his 85-year-old baby bundle partner. They said goodbye to one another and then, as he was walking out the door, he looked back under his long bangs and nodded and smiled one more time at her, to which she nodded and smiled back one more time at him. The feeling of connection between them was subtle yet palpable and it was one of my favorite moments of the morning.
We truly had a great time from start to finish. There was a feeling of great energy and joy in the room. When we wrapped up the event there were many satisfied smiles and folks saying, “That was great; when can we do it again?” Ya’ara Oren, a member of Washington Square Minyan and co-coordinator of the event, reached out to Harder asking the same question, “When can we do this again?!”
Hilary Tolan is the program coordinator for Aging Well at Home.
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