Pasadena

Children Bring Laughter to Retirement Home

"It makes me feel alive again in ways I'd forgotten about," a senior said.

Joy and happiness are just some of things Pasadena senior citizens are getting from Camp Villa, a summer camp that bridges generations.

The program brings in children to spend time with senior citizens, engaging in games, laughs and good memories. 

Twice a week, 9-year-olds from Jefferson Elementary School come to play at the Villa Gardens Retirement Home. 

Sue Peace, 80, a retired school teacher, has a smile on her face thanks to Camp Villa. Peace lived alone for seven years after she was widowed.

"It makes me feel alive again in ways I'd forgotten about," she said. 

Peace added, "I like to play... now I've got some people to play with." 

The kids seemed to be enjoying themselves as well.

"It just makes me feel so good. My grandparents are at Mexico," one child said.

For Bruce Harris, 83, a retired college professor, dealing with 9-year-olds isn't any different from 19, he said. Hanging out with the children has renewed his love of teaching.

"You're still interacting and communicating ideas... that's what it did for me," he added. 

Camp Villa volunteer Pat Ganje says sharing a laugh with a friend is good for the soul, no matter what your age. 

"They get self-confidence... and poise and a feeling somebody cares," she said.

This is the first year of Camp Villa, and the retirees say they're enjoying it so much they hope to expand it next summer.

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