A group of Earl Marriott Secondary students are branching out to create a more inclusive community for seniors.
Julie Noh, Christina Chung and Jazlyn Melnychuk first organized Project Generation Outreach as part of a Social Justice 12 assignment, but after researching further, the group decided to take on the issue of senior marginalization outside of the classroom.
On May 31, the group organized an event at Sunnyside Manor that paired seniors and youth and encouraged the teams to share their experiences, talk about mentorship and make connections.
“We made them write about each other and what they felt about the event. Then, we put it in a jar and hung it from the ‘generation tree’ as an ornament,” Noh said, adding that the group had made the “tree” from a large branch for the event.
“It symbolizes branching out of the generations.”
Noh noted she and her group members felt this was an important cause to champion due to the large senior population in White Rock.
Many younger people don’t seem interested in what seniors can offer, causing emotional and physical marginalization, she added.
“What we found is the general root of this issue is that we need to change our perspective as a society to really target this issue in the long run,” she said. “We decided to hold the event with the youth, because they will be the future of our society. We thought it would be easier to change their perspective which will then alleviate the issue in the long run.”
While the three students have not yet chosen a group name, they all plan to continue working towards ending senior marginalization in their community, Noh said.
“I just wanted to give people the opportunity to see, because there are so many stereotypes of seniors. But what I realized as I spoke to more seniors is that if you actually talk to them, all the stereotypes and prejudices we hold can be alleviated as whole, (youth and seniors) just need that opportunity to connect with each other.”