A Valuable Time

The participants at Sutter Senior Care were quick to let me know to take my talking elsewhere. I was visiting Mariana Sánchez-Valdez (9th grader in Mac’s advisory), and may have been talking a little too loudly during BINGO. Mariana later explained that BINGO time is a very serious time at her internship site. Aside from disrupting BINGO, I had an excellent visit.

Mariana spends Tuesdays and Thursdays working closely with the participants, greeting them upon arrival, taking attendance for activities, serving food and drinks, and planning and helping with physical activities, as well as arts and crafts. Mariana’s favorite activity is “Balloon Volleyball.” (We should play balloon volleyball at the Met.) The facility offers a variety of activities for the participants, such as, walking club, and spiritual group. Since Mariana’s mentor is the Activities Coordinator at Sutter Senior Care, Mariana has participated in most activities at some point in her time at the site. She has even gone on a field trip to Walmart with the participants. Yes, Walmart! Mariana shared that they take participants off site so they can feel independent, and be a part of their community. The participants have also gone to Apple Hill, and other places to enjoy. According to Mariana, the activities do serve a purpose. For example, “crafts help with memory and hand-eye coordination.” One craft project that Mariana brought to the participants was a “Christmas tree pinecone” project. She thought it would be a great activity to facilitate, and was very pleased with the outcome; she said the participants really enjoyed the activity.

Sutter Senior Care does not just offer a day of activities to their participants. They also have a rehabilitation center, clinic, social worker, dentist, and an eye doctor. They are a full service facility that really cares about participants. And to top it off, they even offer English and Spanish classes. Mariana is a huge asset to Sutter Senior Care, being that she is biliterate in Spanish and English. Mariana puts her skills to use by interpreting during the English class to help the Spanish-speaking participants. She shared that the participants watch a lot of YouTube videos to help them learn English, and she is there as an interpreter to assist them and the caretaker. Although much of her time is spent with the participants, Mariana had a special project she was working on for quite some time.

Mariana’s mentor came up with the idea to have a billboard at Sutter Senior Care devoted to Black History. Because she has a reliable and responsible intern, she tasked Mariana with this project. Mariana put together a beautiful bulletin board highlighting incredible African American people throughout history. I wish I could have taken a picture of the board, but I was not allowed to take pictures in the building. It is very creative and colorful, and looks very professional. Mariana’s project did not stop there. She highlighted many African American people throughout history by placing their picture, along with a biography, on the walls of a very long hallway in the facility. I am not even sure how many people Mariana researched and posted, because I was too busy looking at all of them. A project that involves a display of any kind on the walls of a facility such as Sutter Senior Care is not something handed to just anyone. It is evident that Mariana’s mentor trusts her. When asked if it has been beneficial to have Mariana as an intern, her mentor responded, “She is highly mature, has the ability to follow through, and does not need a lot of direction.” Her mentor is very pleased with the work Mariana has produced, and is very happy to have her on the team.

I enjoyed my visit at Sutter Senior Care, and cannot stress enough how important it is for our youth to connect with the senior community. There is so much to contribute and, more importantly, so much to learn from each other.

Thank you, Mariana, for showing me around. I promise not to disrupt BINGO anyplace I see BINGO happening!

SIDE NOTE: I was not allowed to take pictures inside the facility. The picture provided in this post is of Mariana waiting to greet the participants.

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