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Farmington Hills School's Program Links Students with Seniors in West Bloomfield

Hillel Day School's Dor L'Dor teaches young people how to connect with their elders.

Last week, seniors living at the Edward I. & Freda Fleischman Residence in West Bloomfield got a chance to go back to the classroom, with students at Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills. 

The visit capped off the Dor L'Dor program, through which Hillel 6th graders spend time connecting with their elders. Margery Jablin, Dor L’Dor coordinator and teacher, said students are prepared with sensitivity experiences like walking with a walker or trying to put on a jacket using only one arm. 

"Before they get (to Fleischman), they know what to ask of somebody with a wheelchair, and how to get to the level of someone who can't hear," she said. 

Students share a variety of activities with seniors during their visits, from making thank you gifts for teachers to gardening. Activities depend on how many seniors are able to attend. The last visit, Jablin said, lasts a little longer and includes lunch and entertainment, "so they're getting together and talking to each other and connecting."

Some of those connections extend beyond the program, she added. One seventh grader is still visiting – and knitting with – Fleischman seniors. Another student read his bar mitzvah Torah portion for a senior who was unable to attend the ceremony. 

"It's a wonderful program that brings our community together," Jablin said. "The kids get to know that other people are just like them in many ways. They learn to communicate with people who are older." 

"I don't know if the seniors get more out of it, or the kids," she added. 

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