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Psychology students volunteer at senior center

Published on May 16, 2023

Psychology students volunteer at senior center

Psychology students at the Ashford Senior Center: Front row, left to right, Mia Civitillo, Cristina Randazzo, Anita Colby and Melissa Valenzuela. Back row, left to right: Shannon Cody, Kyera Toney, Taylor Smith, Victoria Janosi and Kate Conway

Students at the Ashford Senior Center are, left to right, Shawn Ramirez, Imboya Adopo, Love Atkinson, Alysha Wedler, Cristina Catarino, Emily Simmons, Emma Alford and Randi Simons.

Students at the Ashford Senior Center are, left to right, Amalie Valskar, Olivia Peters, Shannon Cody, Mia Civitillo and Jessica Rudnick.

Psychology students at Eastern Connecticut State University recently helped the Ashford Senior Center celebrate special occasions. Students of Jennifer Leszczyński, professor of psychological science, volunteered to help seniors celebrate their birthdays in February, March and April.

Three birthday celebrations took place, and in all, students met with about 20 senior citizens. Students connected with seniors by sharing coffee and cupcakes, having conversations about their lives and singing “Happy Birthday.”

“Hopefully, both age groups were able to look beyond their stereotypes about the other generation,” said Leszczyński.

Leszczyński was inspired by the work of Carrie Andreoletti at Central Connecticut State University. Andreoletti created a program called Working Together Intergenerational/Senior Student Exchange (WISE).

“Anecdotally, I have found that students who spend time with older adults have fewer stereotypes about them and are more likely to consider a career working with the elderly,” said Leszczyński.

“Thank you to the 20 students who volunteered their time to make these seniors’ birthdays even more special,” she said.

Written by Noel Teter