Elders and youth: a night to enjoy

OHSWEKEN – The Six Nations Community Hall opened its doors to get youth and elders interacting more and to bring awareness towards elder abuse. The hall hosted a free meal, information booths and positive activities to bring the younger and older generations closer.

Health Advocacy Officer and Chair of the Youth and Elders Round Table Elissa Smith said the event is geared towards focusing on elder abuse awareness and prevention.

“This is one of the things that we always promote at our events,” said Smith, as she grabbed a magnet listing hotlines geared toward empowering the elderly. “It says ’empowering our elders,’ so it’s all about stopping abuse and restoring respect to the community. So, there’s many different types of elder abuse and with a lot of these events we help to reduce isolation and just to raise awareness,” she said.

Smith explained that the magnets allow elders to know that there is always help and are not alone, and the event is to bring the community together to learn and participate.

“This is just an opportunity for anyone in the community to come together, have a meal, learn about combating elder abuse most importantly, and enjoy some wellness activities,” she said. “Tonight there’s massage, foot massage, raiki, foot assessments, and craft station,” she said, including that Willy’s World, Our Sustenance Farmers Market and Karen Hill.ca put up booths.

“This is just to say that we are going to stand up to abuse in our community and not let it happen,” she said.

As participants and visitors made their rounds to the various booths, many elders sat down to enjoy the atmosphere. Of these elders included Rodd Hill, a member of the Youth and Elders Round Table.

Hill said that he was “really excited” about the event for its focus on connecting youth to the elders.

“It’s a really good feeling. You get to see the faces of the elders when they leave or after the meal they put on,” said Hill. “It shows [the elders] that we’re still here for them.”

“We talk about looking after our elders, but we have to do what we preach now,” he said.

“At first I was a little hesitant, but after I joined it I loved it,” he said. “I love being a part of this and doing something for the community, it’s an awesome feeling to be able to do that.”

Behind the scenes of the event were not only community sponsors, but also community volunteers from the Healthy Spirits Youth Group.

Volunteer Mackenzie Bomberry said the event “was really nice” as she helped cook and clean alongside many others.

“It’s nice for the elders because they [might not get out like this much],” said Bomberry. “But I would like more youth to come and support the elders and just get involved.”

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