GRANT #385:

Chairs for All Ages

02/10/2020
Maybe The Cure For Everything Is A Colorful Pair Of Handmade Adirondack Chairs

There’s a worldwide epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. It’s true for teens and seniors and people in between. Deb Bibbins watched her father lose more of his friends in his final years, until he was living in a kind of isolation he’d never known. Deb wished he’d had more opportunities to make new connections, and after his passing, she couldn’t stop thinking about how to create some kind of opportunity for older adults to meet new people.

Her Awesome idea: For All Ages, a non-profit organization connecting the generations in Connecticut. And one of the first programs is Chairs for All Ages, a multi-week program connecting older adults with high school students to build, design, and paint Adirondack-style chairs. First, older adults with carpentry experience work with Technical Education students to design and build the chairs. Then, older adults with artistic painting experience work with high school art students to produce beautiful designs, painting each chair as an original work of collective creativity.

It’s what families used to do before everybody started moving away, the older relatives would teach the kids how to build things, make things, and fix things. They’d talk, they’d learn from each other. It’s good for the kids to see that aging can happen with vitality and joy, and it’s good for the older people to get to know what’s happening with today’s teens.

As the chairs are finished, they’ll be placed in pairs throughout the community to encourage people of all ages to get outside, explore, and engage with one another in a relaxing environment. Our Awesome cash will buy paint, brushes, dropcloths, and if there’s any money left, they’ll buy some refreshments for the party when all the participants come together to give pairs of chairs to town organizations where they’ll be placed, welcoming conversations between people of all ages. Pull up a chair and read all about it here; follow along with the organization on Facebook and Instagram.