Learning through volunteering
Castle Pines residents Ali Merritt (left) and Ellie Olsen (right) volunteered at Legacy Village’s Hawaiian-themed day. The two volunteers got residents to join in on the hula hooping (without breaking any hips!) and assisted with activities that went along with the Hawaiian theme.
Article and photo by Maddy Merritt
Legacy Village of Castle Pines is a senior living facility that recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Legacy Village houses residents in independent living, assisted living and memory care. Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) students volunteer at, and have worked at, Legacy Village since it opened. RCHS sophomore Ali Merritt and senior Ellie Olsen volunteer at Legacy Village, and recent RCHS graduate Hannah Smith worked as a server on the kitchen staff at Legacy Village her senior year. All three are Castle Pines residents.
Smith said, “I loved working with people who have had so many life experiences and have done some amazing things. The residents truly make the job fun; they have shared part of their lives with me as their server. Many of them enjoy contact with students because they don’t get many visitors. I definitely connected with several residents; even a five-minute talk with them often makes them feel appreciated, which they are!” she added.
According to Life Enrichment Director Darcy Senador, the residents love taking field trips, including dining out and visiting wildlife sanctuaries. Volunteers help with activities for the memory care residents such as bingo, bean bag toss, hallway bowling and noodle ball, a game in which the residents use pool noodle halves to pass balloons.
Merritt talks to residents while playing bingo with them and learns of their life stories. “One resident and I had a conversation about her time living in London in World War II. She told me about what it was like to be in the war zone. I learned that as hard as my problems are, some people had it much worse and that I should be grateful for my living accommodations,” Merritt said.
The volunteers have different reasons, some personal, for wanting to volunteer or work at Legacy Village. “My grandma had Alzheimer’s, so volunteering here is something I wanted to do,” Olsen said.
Volunteers also assist with major events, such as the Valentine’s Day dance, the Mother’s Day tea party, the Legacy Village one-year anniversary celebration and many more.
Senador said, “It takes a special kind of person to work with the senior population because you have to be a really good listener. You may not have the solution to the problem, but they just want to be heard. It’s really important.”