Michael is a junior at Loyola University. But he doesn't live in a normal dorm. He lives with 12 seniors, a family, and 3 other young adults in our Intergenerational Housing program.
Michael plays bingo with his housemates at a summer barbeque.
At 20 years old, Michael was the youngest Resident Assistant at Pat Crowley House when he moved in last spring.
Before he moved, he had been living on the West Side where he grew up. He was making a long commute to his Criminal Justice classes at Loyola University each day, and was looking for a job close to school.
When he saw the ad for Resident Assistant, where he could live near school and receive room and board in exchange for helping seniors who lived in his building, he jumped at the chance.
Michael had grown up being close to his grandma who lived in the family home. He helped her manage her medications and with cooking, too. So the idea of lending a helping hand to seniors was already close to his heart.
The first day he moved into Pat Crowley House happened to be on a Community Night – a time at the building when everyone is invited to share a meal and activities.
He relected, “Seeing everybody in same place that night was cool, all ages getting along. And all the senior residents have different personalities and interact differently. It was pretty cute.”
After six months of living at Pat Crowley House, he’s grown close to several of the seniors there.
When he is on cooking duty for dinner, Myra, Jean, and Joan (otherwise known as the Three Musketeers) hang around with him while he cleans up. They listen to music together, and Michael will usually make them a dessert. He made brownies the other day for another senior, Judy, to celebrate her birthday.
In his spare time Michael likes to listen to music and workout. But lately, he’s been reading more often--thanks to his new housemate Christine. Christine sold him on reading The Count of Monte Crisco. Michael said, “It was just the way she told it, a story of revenge, it made me want to read it. It’s going to take me ‘til the end of the year to finish it, but I like it.”
“It’s nice to interact with each other even though we are different ages,” Michael says about living at Pat Crowley House.
“I have more respect for my elders. That’s going to stick with me. Not everyone has family. You have to show that you value them.”
Michael says the most challenging part of his job is being on overnight shifts, when he is available for emergencies that might come up during the night. But he’s glad that there are people who are there to make sure that everyone is ok.
“Pat Crowley House is like a family in that we all take care of each other. We love to be around each other. Singing all together. Or eating in silence. Like every family.”
Last weekend Michael and another Resident Assistant took six seniors on a haunted hay ride in west Chicago. The seniors wanted to do something spooky for Halloween, but Michael worried it would be a bit too scary.
It turned out to be a great time for everyone. While Joan screamed the whole time, Charlotte (who Michael describes as a bit of a bookworm) laughed along with them. They then visited a pumpkin patch to round out the festive evening.
How you can help
We rely on donations from individuals to help senior and young people stay connected through our Intergenerational Housing program.
This year H.O.M.E. has joined #ILGive to celebrate Giving Tuesday. Will you mark your calendar for November 28, 2017 to help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 to make a big impact for seniors in 2018?
As a bonus, Bruce Otto, our Executive Director, has agreed to shave his the beard he has worn for most of his life. Watch the video here.
Or, donate today.
This post is part of our series to celebrate Giving Tuesday, which will take place this year on November 28, 2017. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season.
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