Helena Teen Council breaks bread at Senior Dinner

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

HELENA – In an evening of intergenerational conversations, the Helena Teen Council broke bread with the wisest members of the community at the third annual Senior Citizens Dinner on Sunday, April 21 at the Helena Sports Complex.

Hosted by the Teen Council, the annual Senior Dinner is an opportunity for Helena’s senior citizens to gather and enjoy an evening of fun as teenagers from the council serve them a three-course meal.

After the meal, attendees engaged in rousing rounds of bingo with the opportunity to earn prizes such as gift cards, luxury outdoor furniture, lush hanging plants and even cakes baked by the mom of one of the teen councilmembers.

“I had a wonderful time this evening,” attendee Cindy Hearn said. “I’m so glad I came. (I loved) everything, the community, playing the game. It was all so fun.”

The Senior Dinner isn’t just fun for the seniors. The Teen Council was able to also enjoy the opportunity to meet different members of their community that they may not have ever met otherwise.

One of the Teen Council members, Troy Morris, sat at a table with three senior citizens, Carolyn Woodie, Cindy Brooks and Marilyn Schultz. Morris shared that he enjoyed getting to know the seniors at his table as conversation flowed between the group.

“My favorite part about this evening was the lovely women I got to be with,” Morris said. “They’re great souls and great women to be around. Even though they were from various backstories, various places, it turned out that all three of them were widowed women. Throughout the night, they developed a real connection.”

This connection was just the beginning. As the night continued, the group discovered more and more in common. Morris and Schultz were both musicians with Morris playing the guitar and Schultz being a pianist. Meanwhile, Woodie had family in the marines and Morris’ father served.

“Even though they were complete strangers that I had never met before, we still developed a great connection,” Morris said. “It just shows you how you can be friendly and kind to someone even when you don’t know them.”

The Helena Teen Council is a collection of high school students in Helena. The mission of the Teen Council is to encourage members to be active young members of the community, build civic knowledge and leadership skills and bridge the link between the city’s youth and adults.

According to the Teen Council liaison, Helena City Councilmember Alice Lobell, the Senior Teen Dinner served around 100 senior citizens and she could not be more proud of the work accomplished by the Teen Council.

“We had a fabulous dinner for the senior citizens of Helena,” Lobell said. “The food was great, we had fantastic prizes and (the teens) were such great conversationalists. They’re the cream of the crop and I’m very proud of them.”

This year’s Senior Teen Dinner received funding from a legislative event grant, organized by Alabama State Rep. Kenneth Paschal. This grant is designed to support and provide funding for various community events such as the Senior Teen Dinner.

“I am honored to have supported this impactful event with one of my 2024 Legislative Event Grants,” Paschal said. “The occasion is always filled with smiles, laughter and engaging interactions between the teens and seniors.”

Those interested in learning more about the Helena Teen Council can visit Cityofhelena.org/helena-teen-council.

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