The staff and residents of The Legacy Senior Communities are grateful for the many dedicated volunteers who positively impact the lives of the residentsat both The Legacy Willow Bend life care retirement community in Plano and The Legacy Preston Hollow in Dallas. These wonderful volunteers provide moments of joy, togetherness and a chance for the younger generation to bond with seniors. By the end of this year, volunteers will have spent 7,000 hours making a difference in the communities. Recently, several local groups of children ranging in age from elementary school to high school have been brightening the lives of the seniors in meaningful ways.
“We are all so excited about this volunteer program through The Legacy Senior Communities, and the kids love the field trips to sing and interact with the residents,” said Andi Bonner, who works in the education office at Akiba Academy and coordinates Discovery Programming (after-school activities). “Small acts of kindness that only bear the cost of time are invaluable to those people who no longer get to engage as often as they would like to. A smile, a song and an acknowledgement means the world and makes a person’s day. It is an ‘all about them’ moment that distracts us from our ‘all about me’ moments – a win-win in every way.”
Students come on a monthly rotational basis from Akiba Academy. Each month, a different grade level spends time with the seniors. They enjoy entertaining the seniors by singing traditional songs, doing hands-on activities and spending time with the residents one-on-one.
Local Girl Scout troops often volunteer at the communities as well. Girl Scout Troop 6464 made up of Preston Hollow Elementary students in fourth and fifth grade and led by Kristi Woodson recentlyspent quality time with the seniors at The Legacy Preston Hollow. The girls did an art project with the seniors and focused on personal interaction with individual residents. They learned their names and discussed what they are thankful to have in their lives.
“We heard about opportunities at The Legacy through another Girl Scout volunteer initially, and I would encourage everyone to do this! It leaves everyone feeling loved and blessed!” said Woodson. “The girls really had a lot of fun, and I had a great time as well.”
The Volunteer Coordinator for The Legacy Senior Communities, Rivae Balkin-Kliman, has witnessed the benefits both the volunteers and the seniors experiencefrom such interactions, particularly during intergenerational visits to the communities.
“It is truly moving to see the volunteers build such deep relationships with the older adults said Balkin-Kliman. “All of us are so grateful to those who make it a priority to spend time with the seniors, and we hope all volunteers realize the tremendous impact they make.”
Often, volunteerism increases during the holiday season, but The Legacy Senior Communities welcomes individuals of all ages, organizations, businesses and school groups every month of the year. From offering computer assistance, leading discussions and performing musically toparticipating in arts and crafts and joining the seniors to assist on field trips or outings, there are many ways to spend quality time at the communities. Volunteers also can help with administrative tasks at the communities, assist and offer exercise courses for the residents, like Mobilize Dallas does for The Legacy Willow Bend, or provide knitting and needlepoint classes. Hitachi Consulting in Dallas also recently visited the residents of The Legacy Preston Hollow bringing gift bags and singing songs. In addition, many students choose The Legacy Senior Communities to fulfill their school community service requirements or complete their bar or bat mitzvah projects. Regardless of how formal and organized the visits are, the most significantexperiences typically result from simply sharing stories and spending quality time with the seniors one-on-one.
Anyone interested in volunteering for just a day, for a week or on a monthly basis can call The Legacy Preston Hollow at 214-239-5735 or The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano at 972-468-6191 and reach out to Rivae Balkin-Kliman directly to schedule a visit.