The True Meaning of Service

Seniors reflect on their experience at the 2020 Senior Service Project

To faculty and students alike, the hallways seemed quieter during the first week back from Winter Break. That’s because the seniors were completing their required Senior Service Project.

From skiing in Park City to teaching elementary kids at local schools, members of the class of 2020 were spread throughout agencies in the Salt Lake valley during the week of January 6 to January 10 performing various services.

Viczian talking to the seniors at lunch. She served at the Sunrise Senior Center.

Karley Viczian went to Sunrise Senior Center for her Senior Service Project. The center is an assisted living home that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. “My main role was to just interact with those living there and just bring some youth and excitement into their lives,” Viczian said.

Viczian claims that the experience was rewarding but challenging. “The entire experience was a roller coaster because although every day brought new experiences and interactions, at points it was challenging to be able to meet the needs and cares of the residents that needed extra assistance, like those in the amnesia and dementia section,” said Viczian.

“I really learned a lot and have actually gone back to visit a few of the residents that I made special connections with,” finished Viczian. She felt that her experience was very valuable and meaningful.

Connor Doyle had an equally meaningful, unique experience at SSP. He went to the National Ability Center in Park City. There he worked as an assistant instructor for adaptive snow sports (skiing and snowboarding) for adults and kids who have physical or intellectual disabilities.

Doyle assisting a participant on the ski slopes. He served at the National Ability Center in Park City.

“I enjoyed everything about my project…just being on the snow and outside for the whole project was a great time,” said Doyle. The participants use special ski and snowboard equipment on the slopes like a Mono-Ski or ski bike. “I experienced difficulties with some of the equipment and it was a lot of heavy lifting,” said Doyle.

“…it was a ton of fun. Just a lot of work for sure,” finished Doyle.

Thomas Barbera’s service project also involved working with kids who have disabilities. He went to Jordan Valley School where he assisted children who have physical or intellectual disabilities. Each day included physical therapy, speech therapy, and even music therapy for the students. “I helped in one of the classrooms with teaching…and [I] spent time with them on walks,” Barbera said.

Barbera helping a child walk at the Jordan Valley School.

“Learning to communicate with the non-verbal children was definitely one of the main challenges of working with the students,” said Barbera, “It was also difficult to stay constantly attentive to all of the children throughout the entire day because they were always high energy.”

Barbera had an overall positive experience at SSP. “I absolutely loved watching each of the students remember me from day to day. Even the students who couldn’t speak remembered me and always came to me every day for the same games,” said Barbera, “I could really see the difference I was making,” finished Barbera.

Though the seniors served at many different agencies, each member of the class of 2020 did meaningful work and they are sure to always remember Senior Service week.