OSU Interns Plan 'Prom' For Senior Citizens


OSU College of Social Work students, left to right, Cassie Reed, Shamso Yusuf, Courtney Bensman and Kyrie Dull, model photo booth props for upcoming Homeport 'Senior Prom' event for senior citizens.

Homeport Communities To Gather Thanks To Social Work Students

For some Homeport residents, it has been, 40, 50 or 60 years since they attended their senior prom. Now they are getting a second chance, thanks to more recent high school grads -- four College of Social Work seniors at Ohio State University.

The students – interns at Homeport – have taken the lead in planning a “Senior Prom” that will bring together an estimated 100 residents living in four Homeport senior citizen communities in Central Ohio.

The OSU students, with assistance from the senior residents, are planning a casino-themed night of activities including food, games, music and dancing. The program will be at Homeport’s Elim Manor senior community in Columbus from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 4.

“I hope that the Senior Prom gives our residents a chance to connect with one another,” said Kyrie Dull, an OSU student from Holgate in northwest Ohio.  “As people age they are more likely to isolate themselves, for a number of reasons. Our social work curriculum stresses the importance of human relationships in the well-being of individuals, so we want to create a medium through which that can happen.”

One of the residents participating in the program is Elim Manor resident activist Mary Warren. It was June 1965 when she wore a white dress to her prom from East High School in Youngstown.

‘I think it’s good to get us together, to meet each other, to see what is going on in their lives, to reminisce and bring back some memories,” Warren said. “And if they don’t dance, at least they will maybe move around in a circle and be happy for three hours.”

Besides Elim Manor, senior residents from Homeport’s Eastway Village and Hamilton Crossing communities in Whitehall will be attending as well as Fieldstone Court in Columbus.

Courtney Bensman, an OSU social work student from Piqua, said the event has provided her an opportunity to learn how to collaborate in planning a large event. Bensman is also excited at the event’s potential impact.

“I hope that we help foster a stronger sense of community for Homeport’s senior residents through the Senior Prom,” Bensman said. “This night is all about the residents, and it’s going to be a blast!”

Joining Bensman and Dull in the planning were OSU social work students Shamso Yusuf of Columbus and Cassidy Reed from Dayton.