CRANFORD — Cranford High School student and senior class president Colleen Jones was honored with a barbecue and party at Atria Cranford on Tuesday, June 14.
Jones has been volunteering in the local assisted and independent living community for two years while earning her Girl Scouts Gold Award. She created the intergenerational Senior Buddy Program at the community, connecting preschool students from Discovery Child Care with the active residents at Atria Cranford for monthly programs.
Earlier this month, Jones, along with her family and Discovery Child Care Director Sal Ridente, attended a picnic hosted by Atria Cranford in her honor. Many of the preschool children and their parents attended the celebration as well. The children serenaded Atria residents with songs they learned for graduation, the staff at Atria Cranford presented Jones with a graduation-ready Mickey Mouse figurine, one of her favorite characters, to take with her when she leaves to attend nursing school in the fall at Ramapo College.
The celebration marked the end of her two years volunteering in the local assisted and independent living community, but the relationship between Discovery Child Care and Atria Cranford will live on. The next class of preschoolers will continue in the Senior Buddy Program, visiting the community once a month to engage in various arts, creative expression and physical activity programs. Intergenerational activities are part of Atria Senior Living’s eight-component whole person Engage Life program, and Engage Life Director Melissa Volpe said Jones will be dearly missed in the fall.
“Will we miss Colleen bringing her wonderful smile and positive attitude into our community,” said Volpe. “But the silver lining of Colleen’s departure is that the intergenerational program loved by our residents and the preschoolers alike will live on for many years to come.”
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