Bermuda Institute (BI) embraced its senior community through an innovative initiative of its librarian, Patricia Fulton. She started an outreach program—a senior book club in the school library. The club operates outside of the regular school day. The seniors meet every fourth Sunday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to hear classic literature stories. The readers, Lois Tucker, BI principal; Richard Smith, Bermuda Conference superintendent of schools; and Sheila Holder, former BI principal and conference superintendent of schools, have used their own creative styles to present the stories.
Following the story, the seniors engage in discussions and debates about the literature piece, fostering opportunities for them to sharpen skills, defend positions, and consider different points of view. Many times spiritual applications and lessons are applied to different points in the stories.
Melba Wilson, one of the club members, gives health tips about the importance of keeping fit, drinking water, and using herbs. At times she has the club members engaging in simple exercises to keep them moving! In addition, Pauline DeShields is teaching them sign language.
The program does not end here. The tables are covered with white linen tablecloths, and china cups, saucers, and plates are placed in the finest table setting. Student volunteers from grade 12 have been faithfully coming every fourth Sunday to serve the club members in grand style. Dressed in black and white attire, they serve finger sandwiches, scones, muffins, and cups of herbal tea. The service is fit for a king! Blessings on those students and their culinary arts teacher, Janet King, who has shown them the art of fine dining!
Recently, Eula Smith and Marion Morton, two of the senior club members, were awarded certificates of honor for their years of service to the community. This honor was given to them during the month of March when, nationally, women are recognized for their work in business and labor. The senior book club members are now official patrons of the BI library.
They have library cards and can check out books from the school’s collection. Many of the seniors have expressed their appreciation with comments such as “This is wonderful!” “I really enjoy coming and wish it was every Sunday.” Another club member wanted to know if this will continue once school closes for the summer.
In addition, the seniors were given an opportunity to sign up to have little chores done around their homes. BI students have two community service days and many of the club members who signed up were happy to have the students clean their windows, weed their gardens, water plants, wash cars, and assist with general household cleaning.
Fulton has expressed that the idea to have this senior club came from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Not only have the students and seniors been connected with each other, but the fun and intergenerational involvement has long-lasting and eternal dividends.
Library staff, Bermuda Institute