Young at Heart Social – Love, Care and Just Plain Fun

On February 13th, 2013, students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington hosted the 19th Annual Young at Heart Social. More than 100 seniors from the community came to UNCW’s campus to socialize and dance with UNCW’s student volunteers.

Due to our local presence in Wilmington, we felt that this is one event that our team needed to be involved with – so we went and tried our best to keep up with the seniors as they danced the jitterbug, waltz, and electric slide among many other dances. In between favorite songs, we seized the opportunity to speak with the local seniors.

Meet the musician who jammed all night long, from jazz to blues and other classics – this band man was the cat’s meow!

When asked if they were married, the woman with the flower in her hair exclaimed, “Of course we are married! Look at how I am matching his tie!” The couple has been married for 45 years.

This 73-year-old dancing queen was a bell of the ball, she enjoyed herself throughout the night and was an amazing dancer. Her words of wisdom were simple, “Always dance.”

Gertrude in the red and Joe in his vest have been happily married for 60 years. Gertrude immigrated from Holland in 1948 and fell in love with Joe. They both danced throughout the night, teaching others how to box step.

This young man politely asked this beautiful woman to the dance floor. She tapped her feet on the hardwood as he scooted her around. After a song or two, the young man knelt down to both knees at eye level. They are pictured sharing an embrace after several songs, both delighted!

This is Maureen Parks. She has had Parkinson’s for 18 years and can’t stand without assistance or assistive technology. Our Marketing Director, Joel Brenner, had the pleasure of escorting Ms. Parks to the dance floor. Joel describes the dance,” She was able to stand as long as I held her and we danced, she told me that dancing with me was the first time in a long time that she didn’t feel old or Ill. She trembled in my hands as the music played, and she was nervous I think about being judged, but we just made a dance out of it and laughed together. When her caregiver came to tell her it was time to go she got sad… I begged the caretaker to wait for the end of the song and she obliged. That caused one of the best smiles I’ve seen.”

“We met in Brooklyn and been married for 50 years!” exclaimed Richard. When asked what has held them together, Betty gushingly says with a smile, “He’s a really good guy.” Richard responds, “She has always been patient with me!”

It was our pleasure to be involved in such a fun-natured event that helped to bridge the gaps between generations. We saw everyone whether they were wheelchair-bound or not, young or old grooving to the band’s jazzy tunes and smiling. Our belief is that more needs to be done to bridge gaps between the generations. We all have a lot to learn from each other and we can all contribute to making our communities a better place. Happy Valentines Day!

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