CH Senior Center News
Senior center staff have been working hard to continue to provide services while the building is closed. Social work outreach and nutrition support remain a focus, but programming is also an important component of the center’s offerings. Employees are working to develop online content, knowing that low-tech programming is important.
One such effort is the formation of Stronger Together, an aptly named journaling group. Starting in May, members received a personalized journal, pen and topic. Participants meet, via a Webex call, on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., to share experiences and anything written during the week. The talk is lively, and the social connection is appreciated. The most recent topic was "Memorial Day 2021," an attempt to create a vision of what Memorial Day will look like next year. One participant wrote:
It’s Memorial Day 2021, and I’m at the Veterans’ Memorial in Cumberland Park. I took the bus and arrived a few minutes early. I don’t mind because the weather is beautiful, and I’m content to wait. I glance at the faces of the other attendees. I don’t see anyone I know. I check my watch, and if all goes well, the ceremony will start shortly.
While waiting, I notice a large object covered with a tarp. It has been placed close to the veterans’ memorial, as if deliberately placed in its permanent home.
My attention is diverted away from the object when a veteran dressed in uniform steps to the podium and begins the ceremony with these words, “We are here to honor those who served.”
As the names of the fallen are read aloud, I stand with my head bowed. I feel teary, but I don’t stop the tears from coming. I begin to sob when I realize that among the names of our military, are the names of doctors, nurses, retail workers, truck drivers, postal workers . . .
“These are everyday people,” I think to myself. I wish I could have thanked each one of them personally.
To conclude the ceremony, the tarp covering the large object is removed, revealing a large marble slab engraved in tall block letters with the words, “We are here to honor those who served.”
Stronger Together’s next project will be a pen-pal letter-writing exchange. Each member will select someone from the senior center and write a letter. Letters will be picked up and delivered using the senior center van.
All of the programming developed during the time of coronavirus is intended to offer support to seniors who may feel isolated, and to maintain a connection to the senior center community that has played a vital part in the lives of so many Cleveland Heights senior residents.
If you are a Cleveland Heights senior who wants to connect with other seniors living in our area, or if you need any assistance, give the CH Office on Aging a call (216-691-7377) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Jenkins is supervisor at the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging and the Senior Activity Center. She can be reached at 216-691-7379 or by e-mail at email@example.com.