Posted October 19, 2009
Jamilah Gregory spent her first days at Bowdoin in a Community Immersion Pre-Orientation experience that included a trip to Sunnybrook Village Assisted Living. Students participated in an ice cream social with some of the residents. The residents seemed to enjoy the company, and Jamilah was fascinated by the stories that the residents told. She could listen to the residents for hours, and she admired the look that came over them when they were recalling a particularly special memory.
Jamilah and another student from the orientation trip turned this initial visit into weekly excursions. Every Saturday, they spend a few hours playing bingo with the residents and assisting with sing-along activities. The relationships they have built go both ways.
One woman stands out in Jamilah’s mind. She has Alzheimer’s disease, bright blue eyes, and a beautiful smile. When Jamilah helps her with her bingo chips, the woman says, “You are my little angel!” Jamilah hopes to soon build a new student service organization that will send volunteers to assisted living facilities.
“During these songs I see many reminiscent faces and smiles, and sometimes even tears. It is so worthwhile!”