Third graders visit residents to talk about... laser tag? - St. Augustine Health Ministries

Sixteen third-graders from Cleveland’s Near West Intergenerational School visited with residents at St. Augustine in late October to supplement their Social Studies lesson on the history of Cleveland. Students gathered in the Manor’s rec room, armed with a list of questions each one wanted to ask residents.

Among the conventional questions asked like “What is your favorite color?” and “Do you have any brothers and sisters?” were also a few that brought smiles both to the residents answering them and the teachers that were on-hand to assist with the interviews. These gems included: “Did you play laser tag when you were a kid?” “What did TVs look like back then?” and “Did you eat jawbreakers?” When resident Jerome Lear was asked by a student if had played football as a child, he replied, “Yeah, we played it the hard way…without helmets.”

Tiarrah Kent, the Near West Intergenerational School’s Admission’s and Community Relations Specialist, explained that the children benefit from these kinds of interactions by enriching and building the students’ conversation skills. Some of the children don’t have their grandparents around, so the time spent with our residents is often the only time for them to hear the wisdom and stories that are handed down from grandparent to grandchild.

On the flip side, residents enjoy talking with the students because it offers them a chance to reminisce while they are exercising and strengthening their memories.

The Near West Intergenerational School has partnered with St. Augustine for the past three years. While a benefit of their visits to our campus is the time they spend with our residents, their visits are also a part of the school’s curriculum and mission to “create and guide a multigenerational community of lifelong learners and spirited citizens.”