When Krop Senior High School student Sofia Korn heard about the valuable Reverse 9-1-1 program that the Aventura Police Department offers residents, she knew she wanted to do something to help.
This program offers Aventura residents the opportunity to sign up with the Aventura Police Department to receive a frequent call, just to see how they are doing. Many seniors have little or no family members who keep in touch with them, and loneliness and fear overtake their lives. Just recently, when a caller told the Aventura Police Department that she was depressed and lonely, she received a surprise visit, flowers and all, from the Aventura Police Department. And that was life-changing to her on that day.
After meeting with Aventura Police Chief Bryan Pegues, his Executive Assistant Rita Noa and Crime Prevention Coordinator Ernie Long, Sofia learned the full scope of this amazing program. They named this new program Generations, meant to bring high school students and community seniors together. Sofia now had her mission crystalized. Her first job was to identify and coordinate other students to participate and bring them to an orientation at the police station.
The launch of the program was held at Point East, where a number of seniors were gathered to meet and socialize with the Aventura Police, Sofia and her team: Nicolas Winter, Ido Yaari, Franco Dadone, Victor Garcia and Jamie Schwartz.
As Sofia said, “One case that touched my heart was the story of a woman who lives alone and has a hard time finding people to talk to. Her loneliness is compounded by the fact that when she greets her neighbors, she is often ignored. Through the Generations program, we provide support to seniors like her. We raise their spirits by listening to their experiences while we are enriched by the chance to learn about their lives. The Generations program is a great opportunity for different generations to learn from each other, while providing increased safety for seniors who live alone.”
What a beautiful afternoon that proved to be! As the police brought their equipment to display to the seniors, and Long provided his famous hot dogs, the students each found a senior to sit down and talk with about their life’s journey. Smiles and laughter filled the room, and the students didn’t want to leave their new friends at Point East. The result: heartwarming connections were made; fond memories of the past were shared and an appreciation for this chance to spend time with a different generation.
Police Chief Pegues said, “The Aventura Police Department is honored to promote community unity between our senior residents and service-minded high schoolers. The friendship and wisdom shared between these two age groups can produce lifelong benefits to both. This is more than creating check-ins. The Generations program is about creating bonds that will enhance everyone’s quality of life. Aventura is truly made up of fine citizens young and old. The police department knows that a strong and supportive community is a safe and happy community. We welcome our seniors to join our new Generations program! “
Noa added, “These students could not have done a better job if they had practiced for years! The youngsters and seniors bonded really well, and by the end of the two-hour launch, they were hugging, dancing and posing for pictures!”
For more information, call Rita Noa at the Aventura Police Department at 305.466.8966