My group HAP project, the "Walks of Life" walk a thon happened today. I'm very happy with how the event turned out. A lot of the walking groups came out to participate as well as a couple people from UCSD which made the event very successful. At 9am people started coming in, and chatting with one another. Everyone was very pleasantly surprised by the t-shirts and the people I talked to said that they would wear the shirt again. We ended up running out of sizes that people needed and having 4 small shirts leftover. We started off the walk with a stretch and then Jayson led the way for the course. I heard a variety of opinions from people saying the walk was too short, and saying that it was just right. The walk allowed a lot of nice conversations and the weather was ideal as well. The walking groups appreciated the water, snacks and most importantly, the raffles! The winners of the AMC, Starbucks and Amazon giftcards were very pleased and surprised. I received feedback from many people on how to improve the event for the future: providing nametags to further facilitate conversation, having more than 1 route for people who prefer to walk a little longer, specifying on the flyer what time the walk should start (we started past 9:30am) and having more Large/X-Large T shirts. For our first walking event ever though, it went much better than I had anticipated, and hopefully next year's LCS can continue this event.
For this week's class, we first debriefed about visiting the LGBT Center in Hillcrest. Everyone went around and shared the stories they had heard. Afterwards, we went over rough drafts of HAP posters. For my group, we went over our Walk-a-thon. Our overview is that we are studying the healthy aging process, how we can achieve overall happiness, wellness, and fitness in our elder years and what policies, activities, or events we can implement to promote healthy aging. The goals of our project are to promote healthy living and fitness, to create a fun activity that would bring generations together, and to increase a sense of intergenerational connection to the San Diego community. Our event is on June 1st at the Balboa Park Senior Lounge. It will be a 1.5 mile walk. Our methods include event promotion via Facebook email to clubs, sororities, local walking groups, and the LCS website. We will have a feedback survey for people to fill out to gather results. Our results will include how many people came, length of time of the walk, what the environment was like, data charts or graphs, outcome of the project as well as photos from the event. We then went over everyone's Debunking Ageism projects. I saw a lot of infographics, blogs, pamphlets, and social media pages. I really liked the 0 to 100 video showing people counting numbers at the age they were at. I also really liked the memes people created about aging and the stereotypes around the aging population.
For today's class, we visited the LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest. There weren't a lot of students today because the trip was from 11am-2pm instead of the usual time. I really liked the architecture of the center. I talked to a guy named Dan, who visits the center monthly by bus. He is originally from Ohio. He was in the Navy for a couple years and while in the Navy, he was able to travel to different places around the world. He said he decided to join the Navy because he didn't have that many other options and it was a good way to travel. He's been to France, Germany and the Phillippines. He mentioned that he got to see the Notre Dame in France before it became the state it is in currently. He's also been to the Louvre Museum but he mentioned that by the time he arrived, every wing had closed except the Egyptian wing. He's also been to the British Library in London, where he got to see mauscripts, and music sheets from the Beatles. Everyone got a chance to share what they had discussed at each other's tables and I liked hearing what everyone had to say. We also enjoyed Chinese food from Royal Mandarin Restaurant and it was delicious. We all watched the youtube video for Man in the Mirror at the end too, and then took a group photo outside. I enjoyed going to the Center today, and would like to come back sometime.
For this week's class, the second book presentation for Happiness is a Choice You Make happened. We also debriefed about going back to the Gary and Mary West Center, and it was nice going around hearing what everyone had to say about the interactions tehy had. Our Debunking Ageism projects were also due today. Victoria and I created a website blog for our project to debunk the stereotype of seniors not understanding technology, specifically the usage of an iPhone. We used the website to share a guide that 2 seniors (iPhone specialists) wrote to help other seniors understand how to use an iPhone. We covered topics such as how to text message, call, personalize home/lock screens, Facetime, and download apps. For our last blog, we shared some facts that debunk the stereotypes of elders being technophobes. It was a lot of fun making the website and also took time. Professor Bussell also went over how to create our Healthy Aging Project posters that we will be eventually presenting at the end of the quarter and and the do's and don'ts of creating a standout poster. We didn't have time to provide peer feedback on the Debunking Ageism projects, but we did have more time to work on our intergenerational walking event that will be happening on June 1st. We have already finalized materials and are still finalizing a t shirt design. People from walking groups have already RSVPed on the google form created, which is wonderful. Everything is coming together nicely.
For this week's class, we headed back to the Gary and Mary West Center. I talked to an older woman named Joy Sun, who is 76 years old. I learned a lot about her from the conversation we had. She came to America in 2003 and has 2 daughters, one who lives in Seattle and one who lives in Washington D.C. Her husband passed away so she lives by herself, but Gary and Mary Center is considered her second home. She enjoys coming to the Gary and Mary West Center to volunteer and has 5-6 best friends at the Center. She also likes that Gary and Mary West Center has a lot of activites and they always air a travel show on the tv, which she really likes to watch. She also enjoys walking, reading books, watching tv and talking to people. She doesn't like cooking though. She actually chose her name because she is always happy. She loves living in San Diego best because of the wonderful weather and all of her friends that live in San Diego too. She has traveled to many places all over the United States, some of which include New York, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. She has also been out of the country to France, Australia, Italy, and New Zealand. She also went to school in Beijing and met her husband there (who has passed away). What was really awesome about this experience this time around was that I was translating for people listening to her, and was able to communicate with her in Mandarin Chinese. It gave a sense of closeness and the interaction was so much more meaningful.
For this week's class, there was a book project presentation on Happiness is a Choice You Make: Meet the Elders for the first part of the book. The presentation was put together by me, Andrew, Deanna, Sabrina, Victoria, Joey, Neena, Janan, Maricela, Grace and Nicolette. The book was about 6 elders, 3 men and 3 women between the ages of 87-92 who were interviewed for the content of the book. Main findings included the following: Old age is a concept largely defined by the people who’ve never lived it We fear what we don’t know; aging requires us to accept not knowing. Society concentrates on the problems of being elderly, not the “richness” of being old Older individuals are happier despite a decline in physical and mental capabilities Happiness is approached individually and should be pursued by what you value most and where you want to see yourself By letting go of future worries, we can learn to better value the present Valuing individuals on the basis of constant motion and “productive contributions” is problematic and devalues the universal aging process In summary the key to happiness is all about the choices you make, what you choose to prioritize for the time you have left. After the presentation, we all split into our HAPS to work on logistics of our events and projects. For my group we finished making a materials list, designing the t shirt, mapping out a potential route, and finalizing date, location and time. I'm excited to see how the event turnout will be.
For today's class we went back to Casa de Manana, and we split off into groups to hear some of the residents' stories. I listened to a woman named Diana talk about her life and her experiences. She has 3 brothers and is the third child. She was born on her aunt's birthday, so her parents named her after her aount. She has 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys. She showed us a photo of all of her children. All of her children have finished college. She met her husband in college when they hit it off at a dance. When asked what her life was like at twenty years old, she said that she had graduated from college with a sociology degree and was already engaged. She lived in Chicago for a while before moving to California. When her husband got laid off, she became a teacher. She went to California State University Fullerton and got a degree in special ed education to teach special education for a career. She really enjoys traveling. She showed us a book about Pompeii, as well as photos of her travels. She showed us photos from Egypt, photos from a hot air balloon festival in New Mexico. She also had a photo of her travel in Antartica and shared that she saw a ship sink while she was there. She went skydiving for her birthday in Oceanside, and she said it was a lot of fun. She mentioned that she has done 54 trips in the last year, which is so many!! That was pretty cool.
For today's class we went back to Bayside, but this time we met at Thrive across the street. After the Bayside seniors finished their Zumba, we were able to have the opportunity to talk to them and listen to their experiences and stories. Victoria and I talked to Gloria, a wonderful woman who is from Guadalajara, Mexico. She shared her story of how she came to the United States, as well as shared about her family. She has three sons, who all chose different paths. One son is in the Coast Guard, another one is in business and the third one studied philosophy in college. She also enjoys knitting and crocheting, and even showed us a phone holder she had made. She mentioned that she enjoys going to Sunrise Buffet with her friend because there are so many options to choose from, and it's extremely cheap. Her favorite color is also red. We also tried conversing with her in Spanish, but my Spanish is very basic and still needs a lot of work. She also shared about her husband. Victoria and I also shared our current journeys to our future careers and a little about ourselves. We exchanged contact information with her as well as took photos with her. I really enjoyed getting to know her; she is such a sweet and kind person. Hopefully, we can get the chance to see her again sometime in the future! Per her recommendation, I plan on going to Sunrise Buffet soon and eating a meal there sometime.
Today was the first day back in class for Spring Quarter. We all shared what we did over spring break. I went to Honduras over spring break with Maria and Public Health Brigades to help build latrines for families. It was my second time going, and it was an incredible experience to see the same people from two years ago. I really recommend the experience to anyone. I learned so much from going on my first brigade, and going back for this spring break. We then went over the syllabus and the homework assignments for this quarter. The focus will be on HAP projects. We are also going to be having a couple of site visits this quarter. I am looking forward to going to the LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and going back to Bayside and Casa de Manana. My group's HAP project is going to be a Walk-a-Thon, and I look forward to working on it with all of my group members. We then received an assignment called "Debunking Ageist Stereotypes and/or Bridging Gaps of Understanding about the Aging Population." We then split off into our HAP groups to work on the project more. I helped with researching prices of snacks, food and designed a prototype for the t-shirt logo as well. We are thinking of making the walk-a-thon more informal than formal, in order to save money and still be able to put on a good event. I am really looking forward to this quarter and learning even more about healthy aging.
Today's class was the final class of the quarter. We had a potluck, and everyone brought delicious food. There was pasta, pastries, bagels, berry crumble, gnocchi, cream puffs, fruit, cookies, chips, and drinks. We debriefed on what was the most impactful part of class in the quarter and also debriefed about the Gary and Mary West senior prom event. For me, the most impactful part of the class so far was the housing project tour and the Oral History projects on our Extraordinary Persons. I have walked by Casa De Manana in the past, but never really thought too much of it. I never realized it was a senior living community until our class actually went and received a tour of the place. I'm pretty sure I've also walked by the Gary and Mary West Center before but just never noticed what the space actually was. I also really liked the Oral History projects because of the opportunity to learn about everyone's families and stories. The experience is invaluable because I don't think I could have ever learned to this extent in a class where I would have to sit in lecture and look at slides. I also learned a lot more about my mom that I didn't know before I did the project. After debriefing about the quarter, we then branched off into our individual project groups. I decided to join the group that will be hosting a Walk-a-Thon for seniors hopefully downtown or somewhere accessible. We are hoping to have it sometime in May or June.