Students of Riverside Secondary have been making trips to Hawthorne Senior Lodge as part of the Leadership course for many years. Every Tuesday, the students are divided into groups and sent out to visit the senior residents. Hawthorne Lodge is a facility that houses seniors with different degrees of dementia and various disabilities.

According to, there are many emotional benefits for younger people and the elderly maintaining a connection. These benefits include: creating a good social environment for both the younger and the elderly person; picking up new skills through connecting and interacting; bringing comfort and excitement to the elderly, along with reducing the elderly’s chances for becoming depressed and lonely.

The senior residents of the lodge shared their thoughts about their experiences with the leadership students.

Senior resident Brian enjoying the Karaoke activity.

“I enjoy it when we have student visitors because I spent all my years with younger people; I enjoy the planned activities and communicating with the students,” said, senior resident, George ( last names will not be used).

Senior resident Brian agreed it’s important that younger people are thinking about the Seniors because there’s no opportunity for older folks to interact with young people, so it’s nice that they come to visit.

“These are young, enthusiastic, very intelligent kids, and they bring joy and comfort; it’s soothing to hear young voices; it is helpful to old people,” said Brian.

The benefits don’t just stop at the elderly, according to, older people offer resources that are beneficial to children and teens. Teenagers need to develop certain social and emotional strengths. The elderly have many insights to offer due to the number of life experiences that they’ve had.

“I think it’s very nice to have visitors and I enjoy the karaoke activities that the students plan,” said senior resident Elsie

Other planned activities include board games, a balloon bash, holiday-based bingo, coloring, and more.

Senior resident Louise said she enjoys the energy that the students bring to the facility and particularly enjoys getting to know them.

Riverside’s Leadership students plan fun, engaging activities for residents during every visit. Students have made connections with many of the residents who frequently participate and enjoy the company.