(November 17, 2011)

Human Growth Students Meet Community Elders

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Amy Hammond's Human Growth and Development class met with community elders and shared life experiences in Kilpatrick Auditorium on Tuesday morning, November 15.

Elder Visit Participants

"They all have such a positive outlook on life," said junior Margaret Crowley. "Hearing their stories was inspiring."

The students met in groups of two or three with one elder at a time. After the elder participants gave brief summaries of their lives, students and elders exchanged questions and answers. The visit will be documented in a paper that the students write connecting the experience to what they have already learned in the class.

"This is really a wonderful experience for older folks," said Dr. Lee Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Centenary and a frequent participant in this event. "The visit gives us an opportunity to learn firsthand what the students are doing and what they are interested in. Also, we get a chance to compare and contrast our experiences, which the students love."

The elder participants consisted of Centenary alumni, friends of the College, and members of Mount Olive Baptist Church.

The elder visit takes place once every semester as part of Psychology 211: Human Growth & Development. The purpose of the course is to explore the theories, themes, and processes of the development of humans from infants to senior citizens.

"In the case of aging, students often have very limited experience with older people outside their families, and media portrayals of aging rarely show the active, engaged, positive elders in our community," said Dr. Hammond, Assistant Professor of Psychology. "This is a chance for students to apply what we have been learning in class to actual humans and start to make a plan for how they can look forward to aging effectively. By interacting with elders they do not know, students are free to ask (and learn) about topics that might not ever come up with family members—sex and relationships in later life, fears of aging, silly mistakes that were made in youth."

Dr. Hammond is always looking for volunteers, who are local elders that are 80+ years and are interested in sharing their lives with students. You don't have to have cured cancer or climbed Mt. Everest. She wants regular people, who are aging well and like to share. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please contact Dr. Hammond at 318.841.7267 or email.