Students from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and residents from John Knox Village recently had the opportunity to build intergenerational bridges and interact in a meaningful way thanks to a session sponsored by the school district and retirement community.

High school members of the district’s Student Advisory Group met for lunch, discussions and a game session on April 21. The activity was facilitated by Emmanuel Ngomsi, president of All World Languages and Cultures of Lee’s Summit, a training and consulting corporation.

The students and senior citizens had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other. In addition, the participants were able to better appreciate the cultures of the various generations represented throughout the community. Ngomsi led a get-to-know-you session and provided the participants with practical tools to break age barriers and build efficient relationships.

“It is such an awesome intergenerational activity when residents of John Knox Village and Lee’s Summit school students come together,” said Kelli Snell, John Knox Village director of resident life. “These two groups are more alike than they are different and have so much to learn from each other. Building relationships and community is what it is all about.”

During the meeting, the young adults and senior citizens played a game called Yan-koloba, which has African roots. This group activity promotes respect and acceptance of all participants and builds trust in a relaxed environment.

“It was so much fun to be with fellow residents and enjoy the experience with the students,” said Marjorie Stowell, resident at John Knox Village. “The students were wonderful and genuinely interested in spending time with us. We played the game as well as had the opportunity to learn about each other. It was fantastic and I would love to do it again.”

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Student Advisory Group includes approximately 40 students from all of the district’s high schools and middle schools. The student group is sponsored through the district’s Instructional Operations Team. It was formed in 2014-15 to help school district leaders receive student feedback and hear student perspectives on a regular basis.

“Our students and staff thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the residents of John Knox Village,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership. “The collaboration was impactful and a meaningful experience about diversity for our students. We continue to appreciate the great relationships we have with our friends at John Knox Village and Dr. Ngomsi. What a great experience for our students.”