More than a dozen residents participate in the Low Vision Support Group held at Peace Village each month. Our Resident Advocate brings in experts to speak about vision impairment and helps residents access low vision-related information, resources, and services. One challenge shared among many members of the support group is that they can no longer write because they cannot actually see what they are writing. Our Resident Advocate responded creatively. She reached out to Saint Xavier University (SXU) to request that college students help these residents write something.

In a series of three meetings at Peace Village, SXU students in a community-based learning course are interviewing residents to learn about their personal histories and how a condition, like vision impairment or another significant health condition, affects their day-to-day lives. Twenty-five students and thirteen residents are participating, and each resident is paired with two students. The residents were asked to decide what the students could write for them via interview and dictation, such as: their personal history, a letter to a loved one, a short-story or poem, a memorial tribute about a loved one, or an op-ed piece for the newspaper. Other ideas included a “picture collage” and an open-ended wildcard option of “students’ surprise.” The students will present this written material to the residents at the final meeting for the residents to keep or give to a family member or friend.

After months of planning, the first meeting took place on February 12th! As our Resident Advocate, Amanda Janicke, shared, “I was both nervous and excited about the first meeting. I thought to myself, Would everyone hit it off? Would everyone show up? Would there be lots of sharing or lots of silence? When the residents and students came together that day, I was delighted to look around the room and see so much sharing and laughing, so much curiosity and learning. In this hour-long meeting that was described as ‘flying by so fast’ by residents and students alike, two generations were brought together to make a positive impact on one another. All participants will benefit from this special project.”

It sounds like everyone is looking forward to the next meeting!