I understand the groundhog did not see his shadow this year so we can hope for an early spring! That will be nice. Although, it feels like we only had about a week of winter in Wisconsin. In two days we had 21 inches of snow followed by a short blast of below zero weather. Before and after that it felt like spring was already trying to appear. The extremes in weather made the month feel like quite an adventure.
January was an adventure in other ways too. On January 1st we invited people interested in having a conversation about living in our planned expansion to come to talk and learn about this intergenerational New Beginning. The conversation was on January 6th at Hope & A future and focused on the 55+ condos. We had so much fun! There were people from around the state that we met for the first time and there were people who have been volunteering here since we opened. Everyone attending understood the value of being in an intentional intergenerational community–where people can meet new friends, share interests, try new ones, share life with all generations and be part of a neighborhood safety net that offers support and combats loneliness. Young and old growing together and helping each other resonated with everyone. The meeting was to go from 10AM to Noon. We had a formal presentation, question and answer time and a luncheon served at 11:30. Some people exchanged phone numbers and others were still here after 1:30PM! It was so fun to feel the excitement of New Beginnings!
We also enjoyed another monthly pot-luck and house concert with Irish band, Slipjig. It is wonderful to have people in the house again–enjoying each other’s company, food and music! I welcome you to join us this Friday when we will be treated to a concert of Lovin’ and Losin’ songs by The Krause Family Band to suit every situation this Valentine’s Day. The evening will be filled with warmth, fun and good food!
Most of January was spent enjoying indoor activities such as chair Thi Chi with Bob twice a week, weekly crafts in preparation for Valentine’s Day with Michelle and Sunday services with our house Chaplain Carmela. Games, puzzles, exercise, music and meals were a delight with our creative staff. Although we felt like we lived inside of a snow globe as we watched the snow fall and the winds blow outside of our many windows, the warmth of intergenerational love and activity warmed our hearts.
On January 30th, 35 students and faculty joined us for the beginning of a semester-long project with the School Of Human Ecology. Students toured and learned about our intergenerational Adult Family Home and grounds as well as our plans for the first complete TIIN (Therapeutic– because of the social support of engaged neighbors, Interactive–in both indoor and outdoor spaces, Intergenerational by design, Neighborhood with a variety of housing and services). Students will spend the semester creating interior intergenerational design using the outline of our expansion. At the end of the semester they will present their plans. We are all learning together!
And last, but certainly not least was the work that went into applying for grants this January. It has been exciting to get the input of so many as we put together the growing detail of our expansion project. As with all major life plans and events, there is a mix of excitement and stress as details are defined and imaginings become plans. As we pressed submit buttons, co-founder Paula Reif and I felt the kind of feelings reminiscent of receiving a college diploma or signing a marriage license. The knowledge that this milestone is another building block for the next level of work and fun to come. We are excited and we hope you will join us as we hope for an early spring and New Beginnings!