Social Work Students Provide Western Party for Senior Citizens

Social work students at William Woods University acquired
some hands-on experience working with the elderly recently when they threw a
Western-themed party for residents of Presbyterian Manor.

Approximately 30 nursing
home residents and 20 volunteers participated. The Easy Rhythm Band provided musical entertainment while the
students and residents played trivia. The students also presented small wooden
owls to three WWU alumni living at Presbyterian Manor.
“The Senior Roundup was a great success,” Jessie
Brunelle, a senior social work student from Meridian, Idaho, said.
“Presbyterian Manor said they had not seen an event that crowded in a long
time. The residents really enjoyed the socialization.”  
Social work students
identified a community need, issue and vision as part of a community and organizational
development project. They determined there was a need for college students to
participate more with the local elderly population through a senior citizen
“The issue we focused on for our project was the
lack of interaction between the elderly population and the younger generations,”
Brunelle said. “This issue is important because the elderly population often
gets overlooked.”
She added, “It is important to increase community
involvement with this population for a variety of reasons. The elderly
population faces significant mental health needs and there is significant
stigma about the population. We would like to see a change of interaction
between generations and an increase in communication and involvement.”
Dr. Elizabeth Wilson, chair of the social work
program at WWU, said she was proud of the students who “really served a need,
and the residents loved it.” She said from the beginning of the assignment, the
students showed “a lot of excitement, commitment and creativity. The event was
a great success, and students learned a lot of valuable skills.”
Social work students (front)
Marissa Ballard, Shelby Dolezal, (back) Jennifer Craighead, Kelly Neal,
Stephanie Chism and Jessie Brunelle try on glasses they brought as prizes to
give to residents with the “best sense of humor.” 

Marissa Ballard, Stephanie Chism, Kelly Neal,  Jessie Brunelle and Jennifer Craighead enjoy the Western-themed party they threw for residents of Presbyterian Manor.