JOY stands for ‘Joining Older and Younger’; the program pairs up young and old people for simple, but impactful activities that make a world of difference.
Camille Whitlock’s husband is why she’s been coming to Summit Hills for the past 9 months. She said these activities mean a lot to the members.
“I love the children, absolutely love them, and to see our residents, their eyes just light up when these young children come,” Whitlock said.
According to the 2010 US Census, by 2030 more than 28% of South Carolinians will be over the age of 60.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said it’s key for SC seniors to be given the tools and services necessary for longer and more productive lives.
One of the main ways to help this growing number of seniors succeed, both mentally and emotionally, is through purpose.
Since November, Summit Hills’ JOY program hosts simple, but important events, like Easter egg hunts and Christmas programs, with the purpose of meaningful interactions.
“To see their eyes light up. The children and residents, it’s a special special thing. So many of our residents don’t have people coming in,” Whitlock said.
Summit Hills Executive Director, Regina Fargis, said it’s not just young children who visit. Middle schoolers and young college professionals have made trips to the community to spent time with seniors.
Summit Hill’s seniors aren’t the only ones who grow and benifit from the JOY program, Fargis noted.
“To have this interaction for this younger generation, who is so segregated themselves and so isolated themselves, it’s making an impact on them. They’re learning how to interact when they’re with our seniors,” Fargis said.
Tuesday, April 16th, the Argentum organization awarded Summit Hills the Best of the Best award. Argentum said the JOY program earned the award for its family and resident engagement.