When different generations merge, the stage is set for potentially extraordinary things.
The extraordinary certainly happened last Wednesday morning, September 26, at an Intergenerational Event organized by the City of Milpitas. Seniors from the Senior Center, as well as children ages 3 to 5 from the Milpitas Community Center’s Pre-K enrichment program, gathered outdoors to walk two laps, side-by-side, around the Civic Center Plaza.
“This is our first year doing this. September is Go4Life month. So it’s a focus on health, fitness, and wellness for our senior community. And we wanted to make it intergenerational,” said John Macon, Recreation Supervisor for the Senior Center.
The Go4Life program is a campaign of the National Institute of Aging, which focuses on bringing exercise and fitness into the lives of seniors.
Melba Holliday, who has served on the Senior Advisory Commission for the past 8 years, is known as the project’s “instigator.” When she introduced the idea of hosting Go4Life month throughout September to Macon, he agreed to help plan it, with assistance from other Senior Center staff.
Andrew Mendes, a Program Coordinator for the Youth and Teen programs in Milpitas, helped to coordinate the event by bringing in kids from the enrichment program.
“We do events like this for the kids…There’s always something going on here,” said Mendes.
In addition to planning an upcoming Halloween Walk for the Pre-K enrichment kids, where they get to go trick-or-treating at City Hall, the Senior Center, and Community Center, Mendes is also busy helping to organize Community Helper events, in which representatives from the Milpitas Police Department and Fire Department come out to talk to the kids.
Mendes has also been instrumental in coordinating After the Bell (ATB) enrichment programs throughout elementary schools across Milpitas, and is also coordinating Leading Youth Futures Everyday (LYFE), a new enrichment program for middle-schoolers that just opened at Rancho and Russell.
“And now that that’s taking root, we’re moving on to the high school piece. As the Senior Center closes each day, our goal is to turn it into a Teen Center for high school students,” said Mendes. “We’re trying to hit every single group of kids in Milpitas so there’s something for them to do. We hope to have that program up and running by the end of the year.”
Holliday, who Vice Chairs the Senior Advisory Commission, has lived in Milpitas (in the same house) for 56 years. It was in 2010 when she started getting active at the Senior Center, which had just opened up at its new facility on Milpitas Boulevard.
“I really like the senior center, and what they’re doing,” said Holliday, who will be 80 this coming January. “I like to keep active and involved; and to hopefully make a difference…I’m also hoping to start doing something intergenerational with high schoolers.”
After the kids and seniors completed their walk, the kids broke up into groups and went around to different stations run in part by the seniors. Each station featured a different game, among them Memory, bowling, hopscotch, and a color scavenger hunt. A bouncy house was even available for kids to jump in.
“This has been wonderful. These kids are so smart,” said Barbara Ebright, 77, a Milpitas resident since 1979. “They did the Memory game, and I just couldn’t believe it. And they’re drawing such nice things. This has just been wonderful. It’s nice for us to see each other like this.”
To find out about other events at the Milpitas Senior Center, go to: Senior Center Events
And to learn more about youth and teen programs, go to: Youth and Teen Programs