Community Partnership – FTJ Residents Share Life Conversations with PLU Students

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Students from Pacific Lutheran University’s Undergraduate Psychology Program recently visited the Franke Tobey Jones campus for their Counseling Theory and Practice course field experience. The specific curriculum for this class is intended to teach students the skills and strategies counselors use to help others, with a focus on empathetic listening and comprehension.

Sixteen Franke Tobey Jones residents readily volunteered to participate. Each resident partnered with a student to share a conversation for approximately one hour and discuss anything they wanted; from personal stories about their lives and families, to their favorite books or TV shows! At the end of the hour, their student partner would then be rated on their listening and comprehension skills by the resident.

Several of our resident volunteers conveyed their utter delight conversing with their students. Pat Mail couldn’t have had enough nice things to say about her experience – a Garden Apartments resident and FTJ Board Member – Pat was thrilled to have had the opportunity to participate for a second time and expressed her hope for this partnership to continue annually. “This experience was not only a way to help these students with their courses, but I was given the chance to learn as well.”

Holly Harden, the PLU professor who organized this event for her students, also appreciated the experience and stated, “The students enjoyed meeting with their Conversation Partners very much. They shared about their surprise and enjoyment upon hearing of the residents’ varied life experiences. Several have shown interest in continuing to stay in contact after these meaningful conversations.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, said “The best of life is conversation.” After the success of this event, it is evident that sometimes a generational divide can be bridged by a simple, shared discussion. Franke Tobey Jones looks forward to continuing this partnership with PLU students for years and many conversations to come.

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