Poetry for the Ages
Ithaca youth celebrate older adults. Samantha Allen ’11
The Who said it bluntly in the lyrics to “My Generation”: “I hope I die before I get old.”
Without a doubt, aging has gotten a bad rap. Ithaca youth, however, sang a different tune last August.
The forum was Young Poets Night, hosted by the IC Gerontology Institute’s Linden Center for Creativity and Aging at Longview, a residential senior community located across the street from the College. The center had sponsored a contest that offered cash prizes to area high school students who submitted poems about what growing old means to them. Winners read their poems at Longview.
The Linden Center’s mission is to make college students and the community more aware — and less prejudicial — of the aging process. John Krout, the institute’s director, says he and his colleagues look to teach, and “unteach,” some of society’s negative perspectives on aging.
Amber Capogrossi, a senior at Newfield High School, was awarded second place in the contest. Her grandfather died last winter, and she says she entered the contest to connect with his generation.
“I wanted them to see that they’re not alone,” Capogrossi says. “They still give back to their community, and we appreciate that.”
The Gerontology Institute hosts multiple events throughout the year that encourage College students to cross Route 96B and connect with the members of an older generation who live at Longview. The Linden Center also hosts an annual conference. This year’s, held on October 1, covered the topic of creativity and aging.
“It’s not like you lose artistic expression after 21,” Krout says. “From day one, humans
express themselves artistically. Creativity defines the human condition. [And] being creative is a positive influence on the aging process. Studies show that those who are engaged in the creative field are healthier socially as well as mentally — and, in turn, physically.”