Thursday, February 14, 2013

ZESST: A program that changes lives

By: Vanessa Ingram

As we age with each passing year, it becomes more apparent how much we rely on friends and family. When we finally begin to reach the close of our life spans, friends and family begin to slowly pass and we find ourselves again looking for new social contact. And because social interactions are one of the crucial needs of any human being, CCASL has created the program ZESST.  
ZESST (Zags Encouraging Student & Senior Togetherness) is a community outreach program run by CCASL that is focused on forging relationships between Gonzaga students and the residents of Maplewood Gardens Senior Center, an assisted living home for the elderly located near the Gonzaga campus.
Current and past participants have enjoyed the memories and friendships that they have experienced through ZESST and many have so much fun that they volunteer again the next year.
“Many students are focused on the now because of their youth. This program allows them to help senior citizens appreciate the time they have left in life and it’s super fun to help them enjoy their lives.” said Korryn Koussa, a former participant in the ZESST program.
The goal of the program is to improve quality of life for residents and raise awareness among students through fun and engaging activities and events. During these activities, students will engage with the senior citizens while having fun and building friendships that will be remembered forever.
ZESST will organize and execute social activities for the Maplewood residents on Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6:15-8:00 pm, meeting at CCASL at 6PM and heading to Maplewood by 6:15pm.
This program can be used for a service-learning requirement as well as an opportunity for Zags to get involved with the Spokane community. Applications for participation are on a rolling basis and one need only attend a ZESST meeting and provide their contact information to participate. For more information contact Jeb Berg at or 509-313-6937

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