Elaine Walker loves to see the kids coming through the door.
“It’s very good for we older people, I think,” says Elaine.
They aren’t her grandchildren but, in some ways, they might as well be.
“I think the best part is being able to come back and grow relationships with the member each time we come back,” says Daniella Santo.
Daniella is one of several High Point University students who take a class with professor Allison Walker. Walker’s class teaches the students how to connect across the generation gap through poetry. The students spend time at Pennyburn Retirement facility with residents as old as their grandparents, writing and reciting poetry with them.
“It's not just volunteering, it's volunteering with a purpose,” says Allison Walker. “So, now they can connect the work they do, here, to what we are learning.”
What they are learning is the medicinal power of poetry.
“This is the sweetest medicine you will ever take,” says Professor Walker. And she cites the studies that back it up.
And the students learn a thing or two, themselves, from the wisdom of the residents.
“Sometimes you think of your grandparents as being very old and crotchety and so forth. But we're not that way,” says Elaine Walker (no relation to Professor Walker).