During the month of June, we reflect on the important contributions of the older members of our community. Our Seniors Program has grown immensely over the last few years, creating a space where older adults can come together to find a sense of belonging and fun.
Six years ago, at 55 Emmett Ave, LEF began to see the need for increased support for seniors in the Emmett community. Now, 55 Emmett is a space in which older adults can come to share and learn new things together, stay active, have fun and not feel alone. Through leading workshops and activities, they are able to put their skills at the service of others and find spaces where their commitment in time and skills is valued and appreciated.
When we began, we offered weekly programs like computer classes, smartphone classes, and English conversation circles led by seniors and young volunteers. Currently, the program hosts many different types of groups and activities, led by community members young and old.
Now, Seniors @ LEF is made up of activities which include:
- Knitting and crocheting women’s senior group,
- Sewing Program
- English conversation circle,
- Basic computer classes,
- Gardening club,
- Work Out – Exercises for Seniors
- Art Painting club “With Out Words”
- Cooking Sessions
- Healthy Sessions
- Social activities: Bingo, Trips, and more….
Reducing Isolation during Lockdown
During the pandemic, it was our main goal to ensure seniors feel they are part of the LEF family. The program pivoted to provide virtual spaces in which seniors could connect and be engaged through weekly programming. Through word of mouth, the program grew, allowing older people to connect safely without barriers such as geographics location or risks to safety.
With the help of TechServeTO, we were able to reduce barriers to technology by on how to not only utilize online communication platforms but run their virtual programs. including over-the-phone assistance with different computer or phone-related issues.
With the support and knowledge our older participants were able to feel more confident navigating on the Zoom platform and more. This meant they were able to participate in LEF online activities, and also able to connect with other activities of interest and social activities delivered by other organizations.
LEF continued to hold special events and celebrations throughout the pandemic such as virtual holiday parties during which participants shared their cultural backgrounds and artistic skills like playing piano, poems, performing with puppets, and art expositions. Seniors also received Holiday Baskets delivered to their homes and floral presents delivered on Mother’s Day.