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January 27, 2012 > A Starry Night at Merrill Gardens

A Starry Night at Merrill Gardens

By Isabella Ohlmeyer
Photos By Courtesy of Andrew Yu

"No matter what age you are or what your circumstances might be, you are special and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning." - Barbara de Angelis

On January 14, a handful of Irvington High School leadership students offered their hearts, talents, and meaningful stories to seniors at the Senior Citizen Ball. Held at the Merrill Gardens Senior Center in Fremont, the evening was fittingly themed "A Starry Night."

In the year 2000, Irvington High School was recognized by the Service Learning Network for their community service efforts as a National Service Learning Leader School. Irvington's leadership assistant, Karen Li, took that prestigious honor to heart as she organized the memorable event. Li delegated a special committee within the associated student body to help her organize the event, and looked to Jane Micely, Active Living Director at Merrill Gardens, to provide an enthusiastic vision. That vision took form in the abundance of light blue and white balloons surrounding the facility, detailed personal invitations to each resident, and photos taken of all attendees as they entered the event.

When contacted about the event, one of the first thoughts that came to Micely was, "It is wonderful that Irvington is taking the time to incorporate us in their lives." She was impressed that all of the students involved took care of all of the decorations, music, and entertainment for "A Starry Night."

In addition to the photos, the evening consisted of arts and crafts including decorating masks, dancing performances from Irvington's Hip-Hop Club, and a student singing performance of the song "Bubbly."

The students made the event a success by making sure residents were comfortable, serving them food and beverages, and opening up and telling them personal stories. While the residents of Merrill Gardens felt satisfied in all aspects of the glorious evening, their true satisfaction was in the one-on-one connections they built with the students.

Merideth Kehrig, a resident of Merrill Gardens for 10 years, had participated in many events at the residency, but this event has now been deemed her favorite. Kehrig stated, "I like to meet the young people, it brings back memories."

The next exciting event at Merrill Gardens will be the popular Mardi Gras celebration on February 21 in which people of all ages, especially youth, are encouraged to attend.

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