After sending an email last year to gauge interest, Mabel Kay Senior Center will host a five-week creative writing program for seniors next month led by Ash Siegel, the passionate 14-year-old child of center coordinator Sheri Siegel.
Ash – who uses they/them pronouns – has been interested in creative writing since fifth grade. After visiting the center with Sheri during summer break and other holidays, their appreciation for the seniors grew and they suggested the writing program.
“Ash floated the idea to me while at the senior center with the seniors around, and one of them was like, ‘Definitely! Sign me up, especially if Ash is teaching,’” Sheri recalled.
Ash, an eighth grader, said the Mabel Kay seniors were sweet and caring, qualities that made them interested in the program.
“I want to help seniors to reconnect with their creative side or maybe just discover it,” Ash noted. “Writing is an amazing way to get your emotions out, and maybe they don’t have that way without writing, so I want to give that to them.”
They plan to have different writing prompts for the seniors each week and a time for sharing what is written. Participants can write as much or as little as they would like, Ash said, and the program is open to seniors of all writing abilities.
“Truthfully, the overall answer (for who would enjoy the program most) would be anyone who has an open mind and wants to go with the flow and reexamine their creative part of the brain,” Sheri explained. “Maybe they wrote as a kid but haven’t since, or maybe they always wanted to write but circumstances made them not do it or their parents made them do something else with their lives.
“And maybe now is their chance to dig a little bit.”
Prompts can be as simple as a picture or a story based on a sentence. Those interested in attending the program should bring paper or a notebook and writing instruments. Depending on interest, there could be a compilation of the seniors’ writing at the end of the program, anything from short stories to speeches.
“It’s definitely a bit of an experiment, but come experiment with us and we’re going to see where it goes,” Sheri said.
The writing sessions are scheduled on five Wednesdays: March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the senior center. Paricipants are encouraged to RSVP before attending by emailing Sheri Siegel at email@example.com.