Laughter, memories, reflections and fellowship with Sai family over delicious food.  The senior members of the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Center of Dallas were treated to a memorable afternoon tea party on Saturday, March 4, 2023 in Plano, TX by their Sai Center. As part of an SSSIO National Service initiative to honor seniors, the service team of the Sai Center arranged for a wonderful program in appreciation of the elders at their center. The goal was to give the seniors, who often remain in the background, a chance to share their stories and some of the most cherished moments from their youth and bond with other center members.

The lobby area was decorated in festive colors and a photo booth was set up. Two center members, experienced in working with seniors, were emcees for the day. Several volunteers ensured that the elderly guests were comfortably seated, served them food and drinks, and provided other assistance as needed. The food team had prepared a menu of healthy and mouth-watering snacks to delight their palate. More than 100 center members attended the program, including 45 senior guests.

Seniors were also requested to share a picture from their youth to be used in a guessing game, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. All in the room listened attentively as seniors shared a personal story related to that picture from their past. Other pictures and videos, gathered from the seniors prior to the event, were displayed, giving everyone a glimpse into meaningful episodes and special moments in the lives of the seniors. All in all, it was a lovely day.

The Sai Center hopes to arrange such social events for the seniors once a quarter, taking into account the needs of the seniors related to transportation, technology assistance and health issues. The event brought Center members closer together and had an overwhelmingly positive impact. Officers and center members got to know more about their seniors, their lives’ journey and felt more bonded with them. Some of the seniors began to feel more comfortable in reaching out for technical assistance and other kinds of help. Seniors also seem to feel more connected to the center and enthusiastic about participating in service projects. For instance, more seniors were present at the sandwich service the following Sunday. A WhatsApp group was also created, especially for seniors to engage and socialize with their peers. A survey held during the event provided data on the needs of the seniors and some of the suggestions will be implemented in the next event.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Thank you all so very much for taking the initiative, planning and hosting such a special senior social event yesterday!  It was so meticulously planned and executed with lots of kindness and overwhelming love. We had a very nice satsangh, and we thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and senior recognition quiz. It was great hearing everyone’s personal Sai experiences. We enjoyed the wonderful group social interaction with each other, along with the delicious food. Thank you very much!”

“Thank you all for making this event memorable. We enjoyed seeing our friends, eating a variety of snacks, and receiving such excellent hospitality from our hard working and loving younger generation.”

“What a wonderful evening, meeting up with our Sai family. It was well-executed with lots of love and compassion. A most unforgettable experience. Our loving salutations  to the whole team.”