By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Children and their caregivers from the Together We Can Family Network (TWCFN) recently joined residents at the Marlborough Hills Healthcare Center for the first installment of the 2012-2013 season of an intergenerational music program featuring performer Carrie Rowan, of Northborough, also known as Ms. Carrie.
Michael Orlando, the activity director at Marlborough Hills, said the residents were happy to welcome the guests back after a summer break.
“The residents really enjoy seeing the children sing and dance, and the smiles on their faces,” he said. “They always comment on how cute they are.”
Cindi Arroyo, the director of TWCFN, believes it's a good environment for the family-oriented program.
“A lot of our families don's see grandparents often because they live a distance away from their relatives,” she said. “This is a way for children to be introduced to that generation.”
Ms. Carrie accompanied herself on guitar and encouraged everyone to sing along. Percussion instruments and colorful scarves were distributed, while bubbles floated in the air. Soon, the children danced along and their caregivers interacted with them.
Their enthusiasm is always appreciated by the residents, Orlando noted.
“The residents like the music, but I think what's most enjoyable for them is seeing the little ones dancing and singing, and following the performer's show,” he said.
This marks the second year for the intergenerational music program, which continues to evolve, Arroyo said.
“I asked Ms. Carrie to do each month's program thematically,” she explained. “So in September, the focus is on fall. In October, it will be focused on Halloween; in November it will be Thanksgiving; and in December, it will be the various winter holidays.”
Last year, the program brought a unique enjoyment throughout the facility in October.
“For Halloween last year, the children marched through the hallways so all the residents could see them in their costumes,” Arroyo said. “They went around the entire facility, especially for those people who were unable to go to the program.”
Orlando expects the costume parade to return by popular demand this year.
“The residents enjoy seeing something different, so they liked seeing them dressed in Halloween costumes,” he said.
Arroyo picked last December's program as her favorite.
“One of the best times was last December, when Ms. Carrie passed out cotton balls and we made it look like it was snowing inside,” she recalled. “It looked so beautiful and the kids had a great time.”
Both Arroyo and Orland consider the joint effort a success.
“It's been successful because there's an appreciation on both sides,” Orlando said.
“There's an appreciation on the side of the residents here, as well as the children and their families. The performer shows a lot of caring for the children and she's also very aware of our residents. She tries to bring the two generations together. It's beneficial to everyone involved.”
Ms. Carrie also appreciates being involved.
“No matter what age, everybody really gets into the joy of music,” she said. “I love sharing that with everybody.”
This is one of several off-site programs offered by TWCFN, which is located at 246 Maple St., Unit 2, in Marlborough. TWCFN provides free education, support and activities to families with children up to age 8 who live in nine communities, including Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough. The program is administered by the Boroughs Family Branch YMCA with funding from the Department of Early Education and Care.
For information, visit twcfn.org.