RARITAN, NJ - On Jan. 19, three students at Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School organized a fun afternoon for residents at the Rehab at River’s Edge.

Jiya Mody, Aarush Kumar, and Milan Patel have been working to organize the event as a part of American Spirit, which is a project requiring the completion of three projects, each promoting patriotism and citizenship, community service, and career and technical education. American Spirit is a competition in SkillsUSA, which Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School is highly involved in.

First, the students gave the residents a description of the activities they had planned. The first activity was to create vision boards of what they wanted to accomplish or what their goals were. The students explained what vision boards were and how to make a vision board and also listed some examples of goals including doing more exercise, creating art, going on more walks, meeting new people, and making new friends.

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Before the event, the students had done research which showed that when senior citizens have a strong sense of purpose, it causes them to live longer. By helping them create vision boards, the students encouraged them to find a purpose, which would then give them a better and longer quality of life. The students then distributed construction paper, magazines, glue, and craft scissors and worked with the seniors to help them create vision boards. 

Next, the students played cup pong with the seniors. The seniors formed two teams and the students set up six medium-sized buckets in a triangle formation on each side of the area and partially filled them with water. There were some interesting trick shots over the course of the game, and it was exhilarating for the seniors to be a part of such an exciting activity.

Research has shown that playing cup pong helps seniors with their hand-eye coordination, aim, and encourages them to exercise their muscles. At the Rehab at River’s Edge, many elderly people are not very motivated to move and even this simple movement helps to keep them in shape and encourages physical activity. At the end of the game, the students also worked with some seniors who had trouble aiming and getting the balls in the bucket to give them tips on how to aim and the best strategies.

Overall, the event was highly beneficial for everyone involved and engaged and intrigued the seniors of the community while also promoting their well-being.