A man nicknamed Lucky as a baby shared how luck has touched every aspect of his life. A couple revealed the four phone calls that changed their lives. A former lawyer questioned one of the area’s first female judges.
These are just some of the one-on-one, interview-style “fireside chats” residents at GreenFields of Geneva are having with one another before an audience of fellow residents, friends, and family.
Beginning March 12, 2018, coincidentally on the 85th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first fireside chat, this lifelong learning initiative allows residents to share some of themselves with one another and form closer connections in the process.
“We believe every resident has their own unique story to tell, and we want to provide a venue for that,” said GreenFields’ life enrichment coordinator Emily Abrahamson.
Occurring monthly, the program has featured 24 residents (some as individuals, some as couples), two GreenFields associates, and one family member since its inception nearly a year ago. Formerly held in the Club Room near a real fireplace, the chats now take place in Friendship Hall to accommodate the ever-growing number of spectators.
“Luckily, we have a portable fireplace that we can wheel in!” said Abrahamson.
On the day of the program, roughly 45 minutes are devoted to the interview, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A from the audience. In addition to conversation, featured subjects also display such items as photos, degrees, awards, and hobbies. Sessions are captured in photos and video clips, and some family members film the entire program to share with loved ones and posterity.
Lingering and chatting among participants at the program’s end is a natural extension of the initiative that brings them closer into one another’s experiences.
“It’s fun for the residents to learn about their neighbor’s lives before GreenFields, and these conversations can also spark new friendships,” said Abrahamson.