GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Seashore Gardens Living Center kicked off its Summer Sizzlers Youth Program on June 25, with 11 teenagers who will work an hour and volunteer an hour this summer. The program, now in its 18th year, won Innovative Program of the Year from Leading Age NJ.
“For many, it’s their first job, so they gain valuable work experience and learn what makes up a good work ethic,” said Director of Recreation Missy Rundio. “But because they work an hour, and then volunteer an hour, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to learn the importance of giving back.”
As part of their orientation training, the teens completed a series of exercises that gave them insight into how it feels to be unable to see, hear or move well. For example, the teens wore special eyewear that replicates macular degeneration and gloves stuffed with corn kernels to represent a lack of feeling in the fingertips. Then they were challenged to color a drawing. This training exercise helped the teens understand some of the challenges faced by the residents at the living center.
Throughout the summer, the teens will help residents with everything from games and group activities to passing out food and snacks, transporting residents and doing artwork with the residents. The teens have a chance to forge real relationships with the residents, to chat with them and exchange stories. The 7-week program concludes in mid-August with an intergenerational talent show.
The Simon & Sylvia Zisman Seashore Gardens Living Center is a nonprofit home for the aged, guided by Jewish tradition, law and charity, dedicated to enriching the quality of life for its residents. The 125,000 square foot facility features a family of services that include assisted living, patient-centered short- and long-term nursing care, Alzheimer’s care, respite care and full rehabilitation services all under one roof. For more information, see www.seashoregardens.org.