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Connecting Seniors and Students Virtually

Posted May 26, 2021

The Market Commons has always focused on facilitating social connections and a sense of community here at Pike Place Market as one component of their work to promote a strong and healthy Market community.

Supporting a positive social context is an important component of their work to promote a strong and healthy Market community. When the COVID-19 pandemic started and social distancing became an important part of staying safe, they knew it would be important to find creative ways to keep the community connected as the risks for social isolation increased even more. Recently, they had the opportunity to host two high school interns who helped design and execute a socially-distanced art and letter exchange project with different groups in Pike Place Market to boost social connections in the community as the pandemic continues. 

In this special project, interns Sophia and Isabel from Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences worked to find a way to connect the students of Pike Market Childcare and Preschool with the senior residents of the Market. Through this art exchange, they collected letters from preschoolers and seniors, sorted them, and exchanged them between students and seniors. They also made a window display of the letters for The Commons to share this impact with the community. 

“It’s important to connect people, it’s been hard for the residents here,” Sophia and Isabel said, “Normal exchanges and projects can’t be done. Bringing this remote activity and having interactions through art is important in COVID-19” 

Every student and senior showed excitement and connection in their letters. Preschoolers filled their letters with drawings, stories, and fun updates, while seniors shared their joy and gratitude in their response. “Getting the letters, all of the preschoolers and residents did so much work! There have been so many responses and we love seeing how happy it’s made everyone.” said Sophia and Isabel.

The pandemic has presented some new challenges, but also increased the importance of maintaining social contact during this isolating time. Thanks to partnerships with the Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, the Market residential team, Heritage House, and the help of Sophia and Isabel, The Commons was able to host this creative activity to keep different community members feeling connected to each other.