Bridging the gap one call at a time

Andrew Friel, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Vanya Bhardwaj never expected to be running a club at all, let alone a club that talks to senior citizens via Skype. However, this is the position she has found herself in for the last couple months of her sophomore year. And it all started from a piano performance.

Bhardwaj’s piano teacher often took her to perform at Bridges, a retirement and treatment facility in Westford. After performing, she decided she wanted to connect with these floks on a deeper level.

“I didn’t really mean for it to start out as a really big club, not that it has become big,” Bhardwaj said.

This unnamed organization centers around making Skype calls every other Tuesday, in room 243, to senior citizens living in the Bridges Community Center in Westford, which houses and cares for elderly with disabilities such as dementia.

“We want to make [the calls] on a regular basis where they get to talk to students and let them feel like they’re helping us. They also get to be exposed to technology more this way because they don’t really get to use a lot of Skype and stuff like that,” Bhardwaj said.

Currently, the club is just made up of some of Bhardwaj’s core friends, hence the meetings only happen every other week.

Through talking with these senior citizens, Bhardwaj has been excited to hear their vastly different perspectives during games such as “Would You Rather?”, and she feels as though they get the same thing from the students.

As it pertains to activities, the club is experimenting with engaging activities such as trivia or just asking questions of the elderly. These activities give these senior citizens a chance to speak with others for an extended period of time, something they do not get the chance to do very often during a standard day.

The eventual hope would be to visit these folks in person once in awhile in order to enrich the experience even further.

The club now seeks new members for next year in order to further this idea.

“Anyone who wants to come, they’re welcome to. It’s a really friendly group,” Bhardwaj said.