Heart to Heart: A Special Intergenerational Event Around Valentine's Day

by Joy Amuedo

Several weeks ahead of the event, I contact three to five (three is best) older adults in the congregation and ask them to participate. Ask them to prepare about 10 minutes of stories from their childhood or life that they think others would enjoy. Perhaps just stories they enjoy telling. I encourage them to provide photos of themselves as children and memorabilia, if possible. I make photocopies if necessary and loosely plan a display of photos and memorabilia from the contributors.

For the event, which takes place in the evening, I decorate for Valentine's Day, have punch, snacks and cookies. At least one game is planned. One of the games I like is called a "Heart Walk" which is like a cake walk with hearts with numbers on them in a big circle. My husband plays the accordion while the folks walk around the circle and when the music stops we draw a number to see who gets a treat bag. Young and old love the Heart Walk and we do it until the bags run out. I make enough so everyone who wants one has it by the end of the evening.)

The folks sharing their stories are assigned an area of the room where there is a chair for them and about a dozen other chairs. Following a group ice-breaking exercise, folks go to an area according to a colored dot on the nametag they were given upon arrival. After about 10-15 minutes the groups rotate to the next "station" to hear the next persons' story. Following the stories we have refreshments, do the Heart Walk and everyone leaves happy as clams.

It is really fun. The kids and parents too get to learn a lot about three older adult members of the congregation and enjoy a wonderful celebration of Valentine's Day. I forgot to mention the photos and memorabilia are all displayed on tables for everyone to look at.

Follow-up is that I provide photocopies of pictures and brief biographics of the sharers along with photos from the event itself to the eighth to ninth grade group to put together in a Heart to Heart scrapbook for that year.

One other thing we have done is to make a timeline on a long piece of butcher paper and have everyone at the party fill in events in their lives such as birthdays and graduation days. We hung ours in the coffee area on Sunday and everyone was asked to add to it if they desired. This was great fun too!