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Photo by Broadmead resident Erroll Hay

Broadmead renews connection with Friends School

By Willy Sydnor

When she was asked how gatherings between Broadmead and students from Friends School of Baltimore came about, Joanne Tetrault, Spiritual Care & Volunteer Coordinator, said many residents had expressed a desire to make connections with others and get to know each other better. Joanne added that she was aware of the history between Broadmead and Friends School. In recent years, this took the form of an activity in which students wrote minibiographies of residents with whom they had spent time.

Recently, Joanne contacted the school and was connected with Helen Berkeley, who teaches English there, to explore meaningful ways these two institutions could come together. Berkeley, who is the daughter of Broadmead residents Al and Muriel Berkeley, suggested that residents meet with eleventh and twelfth grade students who are enrolled in an English course called “Wise Reading,” in which the students bring contemplative practices to their engagement with literature.

The meetings with the students have focused on contemplative practices such as mindful listening and exchanging information about spiritual backgrounds and mentors. The students have also shared a bit of their writing as they prepare to create a “Rule of Life” for themselves.

Over the course of four sessions, two at Broadmead and two at the Friends campus, 13 students and 18 residents have found this experience to be very rewarding. Residents who participated in this inaugural project said they found the students to be thoughtful and very wise for such young people. One resident commented that the experience was “some of the best days I’ve ever had,” and another said that these students give hope for the future of the world.

Joanne hopes to continue to build on this renewed relationship with Friends School, particularly because intergenerational activities can serve an expressed resident need.

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