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.
Today was the day of the senior prom at the Gary and Mary West Center. The event was from 1:15pm to 3:15pm. The theme was a carnival, and we had pizza, churros and apple juice from Costco. I helped set up the event by cutting churros, cutting up many bananas for the fondue machine, and putting pizza onto plates. I thought the event went very well. It was pretty rewarding for me to serve seniors pizza and churros and I enjoyed contributing to the event this way. Everyone really enjoyed the pizza, churros and apple juice that was served. We also had a raffle and gave away prizes like hand cream, soap, blankets, mugs, and plants. The seniors were so excited to win prizes and really seemed to enjoy the blankets because they were so soft. The photo booth was also a success, and I saw people leaving with polaroids. I remember seeing people leave wearing the boas and sunglasses. They told us on the way out that they really enjoyed the event, which I was happy to hear. On the way out, we gave goodie bags to people, and they appreciated the goodie bags a lot. Afterwards we helped clean up by clearing the tablecloths, tearing down the decorations and sweeping the floors. I liked that this was our concluding event for the quarter, because it was very rewarding. I had a lot of fun, and I really look forward to the events next quarter and learning even more about healthy aging.
In today's class, everyone presented their NAP projects. We listened to presentations about the neighborhoods of Hillcrest, Sabre Springs, Encinitas, and Barrio Logan. Listening to everyone's presentations made me learn about environments I hadn't even heard of before. My group presented about the neighborhood of Little Italy. It was really interesting learning about the different neighborhoods- from the environment to the culture and age-friendly the neighborhood was. For me, although I've been to Little Italy multiple times, there are aspects of the neighborhood that I never noticed before doing this project. For example, there are no grocery stores in Little Italy. Residents have to count on the weekly Farmer's market to obtain fresh produce and other goods, or own a vehicle to drive to the closest grocery stores. I was also surprised by the lack of green spaces. During our expedition, my group only found one park, and it wasn't even a park for humans, it was for dogs. The neighborhood's motto is "hip and historic neighborhood" and this is clear due to how inaccessible it is for older people. There are many entrances that have stairs, and also no buses to travel within Little Italy. There are also no health centers and senior living communities. This project really opened my eyes to how architecture and environment are intentional. Little Italy definitely caters to a demographic, but it is not for the aging demographic. Little Italy does have events like the weekly Farmer's market that draws in people from all age groups, which is a plus.
Today in class we finished the last of the Oral History Project presentations. It was really enjoyable listening and learning about everyone's extraordinary person and the journey that they've had to where they are now. It was cool seeing the physical copies of memoirs that were made. I really like Sabrina's Chinese New Year decoration memoir because I could relate to it. I think the oral history project has been my favorite part of being part of Life Scholars so far because I really like hearing people's stories and experiences. I also presented my current event with Victoria and Chloe. We were one of the last two groups to present. We talked about how in Houston, Texas, they had a job fair recently for seniors. The job fair provides seniors with a chance of finding employment and is a wonderful opportunity for seniors the level the playing field with millennials. I think that there should be a lot more job fairs for seniors, because not all of them are familiar with technology like online applications, and job fairs allow multiple opportunities to be presented at the same time. We presented with a powerpoint presentation because it is a lot more engaging, it is easier for people to learn about the article and ask questions, and we wanted to provide visuals for people. Next week, we will be presenting our NAPS. I am looking forward to learning where everyone decided to visit, and how senior friendly neighborhoods in San Diego are.
During the evening today, we hosted a dance at Casa de Manaña, the senior living community in La Jolla that we previously visited before and took a tour of. The theme for the dance tonight was Rock N' Roll. The decorations included mini convertible stands, vinyl record banners, a pop up 50's diner photo opportunity, mini jukeboxes, streamers and large banners that said rock n' roll. There was also soda, champagne, and mini cheesecakes and brownies. I came at 7:00 because I had class. There was a band singing songs from Tennesee Waltz, to Pretty Woman, and other great hits that I didn't recognize. A lot of my classmates walked to the dance floor and danced, with each other and with other seniors who decided to dance as well. There was also a raffle held, where we raffled off prizes from soaps, Starbucks gift cards, succulents, teacups, hand creams, treats and other plants like lavender. I prefer to observe everything that was going on from the side, because I am kind of shy when it comes to dancing. I helped clean up the dance afterwards, and took down streams, vinyl record banners, and other tasks. At the end of the dance, we all took a group photo to commemorate the event. Then we all left at around 8 o clock after cleaning up. The dance was a success. I am definitely interested to see how the dance at the Gary and Mary West Center will go later on in the quarter.
Today's class consisted of more Oral History Project presentations, the group presentation on This Chair Rocks, and current event presentations. I liked listening to everyone's oral history projects and finally presented my oral history project on my mom. I am really thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this project because I learned a lot more about my mom that I didn't know before. My mom has lived a wonderful life so far and it was pretty cool to put all of those memories into a powerpoint and booklet. From the book presentation on This Chair Rocks, I learned about ageism. The part of the presentation that stood out to me was the author's quote that compared aging to race, and I agreed with the critique by my classmates how that is a terrible comparison to make. However, the book is still very educational and has a lot of useful information in it. Out of the current event presentations, the one about robots and how they could potentially help the elderly was very fascinating. I personally think that unless robots have the emotional connection that humans crave, they would not be the best for helping the elderly. In terms of progress on my NAP project, my group visited Little Italy on Saturday during the farmer's market and got a really good look at the neighborhood, environment and landscape. Little Italy is designed to be urban and hip, and is not senior-friendly in many ways, besides the fact that there is a trolley station to get there in the first place. I am looking forward to working on the NAP project and combining everything I have learned about it, after researching and exploring the landscape.
Today's class consisted of learning and listening to other classmates' Oral History Projects about their Extraordinary Person. It was really cool seeing what people had come up with for their projects- from a jewelry box to an origami flower. I really enjoyed listening to people's stories about their extraordinary person- from their best memories, favorite memories, and personal struggles. I look forward to sharing my mom's memories with the class soon. During this class the group I was in presented about Selling the Fountain of Youth- from what the book was about, what we learned from the book, and whether or not we would recommend it. I personally would recommend the book, because I learned a lot of information about anti-aging that I had no idea about before. However, I also felt that the book was not impartial and had a lot of bias. I found the part of the book about celebrity influence the most interesting, especially with the Suzanne Somers "Effect." We also discussed individual healthy aging products, which will be coming up in the spring. I would like to do a nutrition type of event or something interactive that involves food, such as hosting a healthy no-bake cooking demo, because it would be easy, simple and safe. I was kind of thinking along the lines of a no-bake cheesecake since it is something that I have made before. I would like to make that kind of recipe with modifications, like less sugar. I am also considering microwave recipes as well.
Today's class was the first one after traveling to different sites in previous classes. We recapped our experiences and what we learned and saw at Casa de Manana. Professor Bussell and Professor Lewis then delved into what NAPS and HAPS are. NAPS are Neighborhood Age-Friendly Assessment Projects. We are expected to work in small teams to look at different San Diego neighborhoods and check out how age-friendly they are. The professors wrote out on the whiteboard names of neighborhoods students suggested. The group I am in is going to explore Little Italy, which has easy access to public transportation, a weekly Farmer's Market, and a lot of restaurants and shops. From what I know about Little Italy though, it isn't very cost-friendly, so I am looking forward to see what else we will find when we go and explore it. I also learned about HAPS, which are Healthy Aging Projects. Our class was split into two groups, one in charge of planning a prom for the Gary and Mary West Center, and one was in charge of planning a dance for Casa de Manana. I was put into the Casa de Manana group. We were given time within our NAPS and HAPS groups to discuss plans on how we were going to do these projects. We were also told to start thinking about our individual HAPS as well. I am still not sure what I am going to do for my individual HAP, but I will think about it and see.