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Art Project Connects Generations

by on February 10, 2018 12:05 AM

The Inn at Juniper Village at Brookline was filled with artistic energy on Friday as the young and young-at-heart worked together on a collaborative project while sharing stories and laughter.

Students from Mount Nittany Middle School visited with Juniper Senior Living residents to craft decorative flowers, cover them in mod podge and place them on a painted tree that will be displayed around the village and at the school.

"We have a group at school called ROAR and its mission is creating a positive environment," explained Mount Nittany art teacher Amy Barnhart. "One of the things we’re encouraged to do is work with this small group of students to do community events and help them do things to make the school a better place."

Seventh-grade student Victoria Walker said she was enjoying the experience.

"We're meeting people from different generations and seeing how they react to things and how we react to things," she said.

One thing she learned: "They’re better artists than we are."

Jill McKenrick, director of Connections at Juniper Senior Living, 1930 Cliffside Drive, said it's a learning experience for the residents as well.

"Our residents love to interact with younger students, with children," McKenrick said. "They just like to see what the kids can do. It’s fun to watch them interact and learn from each other. It’s neat to see them learning together."

Mount Nittany Middle School Students and Juniper Senior Living residents work together to craft decorative flowers on Feb. 9. Photo by Geoff Rushton/

It's a new opportunity for students and Juniper Village residents to interact, but not the first.

A "reading buddies" program brings a class from Mount Nittany Elementary School to Juniper Village every other week for students to practice reading aloud one-on-one with residents.

"Our residents like to teach and help them spell out the words and practice reading," McKenrick said. "We like to give back to the community and the community likes to be here."

The 16 middle school students clearly liked being there on Friday.

"We’re doing crafts and just getting involved," said student Natalie Koncoski. "It's going really well."

Nate Roberts had not visited Juniper Village since elementary school for the reading buddies program and was happy to return.

"It’s been fun," Roberts said. "We’re having fun with everyone here today and it's been cool."

The work as it was still in progress. Photo by Geoff Rushton/

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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