Intergenerational Center Turns One, Celebrates With Open House

St. Francis Intergenerational Center is turning one, and to celebrate this milestone, it hosts an open house from noon to 2 p.m. March 2 to show off what it has been up to in its first year.

Located in Ewa Villages, the center offers both a preschool and an adult day-care facility.

According to Sister William Marie Eleniki, who oversees the center, the biggest success in the past year has been enabling the seniors and the children to work together. Every other week, the two groups collaborate on a project.

“They do different activities together, like music, or arts and crafts,” she explained. “The little ones will work with the seniors, and it is really kind of nice to watch.”

The center’s clients are comprised of 24 preschool students and 11 adults. The preschoolers focus on academics, while the seniors participate in activities such as chair aerobics, reading and art projects.

The public is welcome to attend the open house to learn more about its services. The event will feature demonstrations by both students and seniors that showcase the variety of work and activities in which they participate at the center. Applications for both the preschool and the adult day care center will be available.

Eleniki said that the center has provided an opportunity for seniors without grandchildren to spend time with keiki – and for kids who don’t get to see their grandparents to interact with older generations. The relationship, she feels, is mutually beneficial.

“(The seniors) enjoy just watching the kids run around,” Eleniki said. “A lot of the kids will come in and chit-chat with them and then go out to play.

“I think, a lot of times kids don’t get to see older people and so they don’t understand them. But here, they get to see older people who are a part of our community whom we sometimes take for granted,” Eleniki noted. “The kids can interact with older people, who are caring and sharing. For some, it’s like the grandparents they never had. There is a real connection. The preschoolers call them their grand-friends.”

Moving forward, Eleniki hopes to increase enrollment in both sides of the center.

“The more people who are part of the program, the more you instill the concept of sharing and understanding between generations,” she said.

To help its programs grow, St. Francis Intergenerational Center is accepting the following items: paper towels, tissues, disinfecting hand wipes, construction paper, water-based paints, Play-Doh, glue sticks, art paper, children’s books, educational games, playground balls, hula hoops, decaffeinated coffee and walker carryall bags. Cash donations are also welcome.

The center is located at 91-1758 Oohao St. For more information about the center and the open house, call the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation at 547-8031.