Elmhurst Bridges the Generation Gap

WHEELING — A new partnership between the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley and Elmhurst, The House of Friendship assisted living residence in Wheeling designed to connect youngsters with older adults through play was inaugurated with a full morning of holiday crafts and games, recently.

Terra Crews, museum director, explained that she has always envisioned a program specially designed to pair the elderly with children in play. She noted, “Families may not always have the time for their children to spend with older adult family members and our program, The Circle of Friendship, is our way of allowing that to happen. Inaugurating the program at Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, seemed the perfect setting in which to launch the fun and I saw a lively, new energy and friendships develop.”

Nearly two dozen children spent the morning crafting snowmen door hangers and handprint ornaments with Elmhurst residents. There also was a rousing game of reindeer antler ring toss that generated lots of laughter among the group.

Jamie Crow, Elmhurst executive director, applauded the CMOV initiative. “What a wonderful opportunity for our residents, many of whom are from the Greatest Generation and in their 90s, to spend quality time with youngsters. This is a welcome addition to our calendar of activities. We couldn’t be happier to join Terra in this endeavor.”

Students from local schools who had the day off, and others from Wheeling Country Day School, a partner-in-education with Elmhurst, participated in the first visit.

The mission of the CMOV is to promote and stimulate the intellectual and creative potential of children by being a catalyst for the process of learning through hands on play. Crow pointed out that Elmhurst residents love interacting with children of all ages. “Our residents beam with pure joy when they are with little children or share games with older junior high students. It is so rewarding to be able to witness that camaraderie, the results of which last for days around here.”

The CMOV will visit Elmhurst on the first Saturday of each month for games, crafts, and play, Crews noted, adding, “This first meeting was absolutely special as I watched the faces of the residents and the children.”

The CMOV is located at the corner of Main and Tenth Streets in downtown Wheeling. It is open from Thursday through Sundays. Information is available on their Facebook page and website.

Ila McConaughey, Elmhurst resident, watches as Joshua Lohri traces her hand during a visit from the CMOV.

Jamie Crow, executive director of Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, second from left, helps decorate a tree with handprint ornaments made by residents and children from the Children’s Museum of the Valley. Show with Crow are, at right, Terra Crews, museum director, and Amber Fahey, a work-study nursing student at Belmont College.

Elmhurst resident Marjorie Mathieu makes friends with Lexie Musser, a Wheeling Country Day School kindergarten student during the CMOV visit.

Tony Chieffalo, a resident of Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, is joined by Isaac Demarest, at left, and Rayna Ochap, for crafts during the visit from the children from the Children’s Museum of the Valley. The children are WCDS students.

Joe Kirchner, a kindergarten student at WCDS, left, watches as Elmhurst resident Bertha Sacco traces his hand on construction paper during the students’ visit with the CMOV.

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