Segue From a Career to Volunteerism
Anne Gressle moved into the Oak Park Arms retirement community in 2019. Right away she began volunteering at Kindness Creators Intergenerational Preschool which is housed in the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park.
Three days a week she helps with all sorts of kid-friendly projects. Her motivation is the children. It’s the perfect volunteer job, because she is a retired pre-school teacher.
Kindness Creators Intergenerational Preschool is a private, Intergenerational Program that offers a unique opportunity for younger and older generations to interact and build meaningful relationships through a balance of free play, exercise, social learning, and academics.
“I love hanging out with kids,” Mrs. Gressle said. “In these troubling times it helps me get out of my head.”
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, the four- and five-year-olds “graduated” from Kindness Creators and will begin Kindergarten in the fall. Mrs. Gressle was at graduation greeting families and taking pride in the children.
As a child, she was shy and introverted. She was encouraged to be a teacher, as most girls were decades ago. She attended a teacher’s college in Maryland and taught little ones for many years.
Seniors report they don’t think about their age when in the company of young children. The youngsters bring a sense of vitality and fun, and the focus shifts to living in the moment. This volunteerism also satisfies a drive to give to others in a meaningful way.
The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
The Oak Park Arms Senior Living is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living and assisted living apartments. Additional services include respite care and an award-winning adult day care program. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.
For more information about the Oak Park Arms, call 708-386-4040. For more information about Kindness Creators visit: https://kindnesscreators.org/ or call 708-948-7634.