Helena Teen Council participates in 2nd annual Senior Dinner

Published 8:25 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The second annual Senior Citizens Dinner was hosted by the Helena Teen Council on Sunday, April 23 at the Helena Sports Complex.

“This dinner is just a great time for members of the Teen Council to serve some of our local senior citizens,” said event organizer Alice Lobell. “It was a great time.”

The event is partially funded by State Representative Kenneth Paschal, who receives a grant to cover much of the cost for the event.

Members of the Helena Teen Council are responsible for fundraising the remainder of money for the event through sponsorships as well as sending invitations to the senior citizens, and serving the seniors during the dinner.

Lobell said the seniors who are invited to attend the event are registered through the Senior Citizens Center.

Roughly 85 people attended Sunday’s event, including both teens and seniors.

Students with the Teen Council are each assigned a table to sit at with the senior citizens, which Lobell said is always enjoyed by both the teens and the seniors.

“I think it is a good time because the seniors can take an interest in the students and the different things they are involved in, and the teens can meet the seniors and find out different things about them,” Lobell said. “I think the most important thing is that the teens get to see that the seniors have interesting stories, they are very active, and many times both the teens and the seniors can find things they have in common.”

Senior Sandy Stalvey said she was thankful for being included in the dinner and had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful girls.

“I had a wonderful time,” Stalvey said.

Helena High School senior and Teen Council member Tanner James said he enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the event for the second year in a row.

“This is a time that really allows all the kids on the Teen Council the chance to serve, and it is the simple things that sometimes mean the most,” James said. “Everyone on the Council is assigned to a table and then you are in charge of serving those at your table and making sure they have everything they need.”

James said a man who sat at his table shared he was retired from serving in the Army for around 33 years.

“It was just really neat to see that he sat at my table, because that is also my career path, and we were able to just immediately start talking and throwing out all sorts of military jib-jab,” James said. “I was just really fascinated with listening to him and the stories that he shared, along with his wife who also shared stories. It was really great being able to find common ground with someone that is not my age and just sit and listen to them. For me, it is not about what I can share, but what I can gain from listening to those from that generation and hearing what they have to say.”

James said members of the Council had spent time prior to the event going around to local Helena businesses getting donations for door prizes to hand out to those that participated in playing Bingo.

“We had about 32 prizes to hand out,” James said. “It is a great time for all of the teens to get the opportunity to interact with people they might not normally interact with frequently. I think it is a great opportunity to realize that those that attend the dinner have a lot of life experiences, and for those of us who are in high school, these are some of the most developmental times in our lives and it is a tremendous honor that we have to be able to have an event like this.”

Helena Mayor Brian Puckett helped call out numbers for the Bingo game, while food was catered by Dondi and Shell’s Food Oasis.