These Elon student volunteers brighten the afternoons of Blakey Hall residents with themed activities.
Elon seniors Kacie Lynch and Becca Karpinos, the Blakey Hall Elderly Residence activity coordinators, help fellow students get involved in brightening the residents’ day with planned activities. Blakey Hall is located in Elon and houses around 50 residents ranging from their early 70s to late 90s.
Lynch has participated throughout her time at Elon and Becca has been involved for the past three years. Originally, Lynch discovered her passion for volunteering during a service-learning human service studies class and Becca, through her sorority service requirement. Over the years they have built strong relationships with the residents and inspired several other volunteers to carry on this legacy.
Student volunteers learn how to push their comfort zone through interaction and conversation with a different age group from their own and building lasting relationships with the residents. Lynch has a close bond she has developed with a resident named Billie.
During summer months and while she was studying abroad, Lynch was not able to volunteer so she would send Billie postcards and exchange phone calls to keep in touch. Lynch considers Billie “a good friend and looks forward to her for advice on every Friday visit.”
Karpinos shares a similar connection with Billie, and says the most memorable lesson she has learned from the residents is how to listen and connect. Each resident takes advantage of the opportunity to share their life stories, adventures, romances, and careers, she says. Karpinos shares that “it is amazing to hear their first-hand experiences to topics I had only learned about in history textbooks.”
Lynch and Karpinos introduced several volunteers to the possibilities of developing insights and relationships with the older generations. Something as simple as doing a craft or asking one of the residents a personal question is enough to make their day.
As these senior leaders graduate they hope that they have left the mark on other volunteers and given them a chance to recognize the positive impact they have made at Blakey Hall. Lynch noted that her Elon experience "would not be what it has been if Blakey Hall had not become such an integral part of my life. I cannot imagine Elon without Blakey Hall, Linking Generations or Billie.”