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Baldwin Wallace students rock 'n' roll with Berea seniors

BW Rotaract Club member Grant Cordle ‘23, right, visits with his "bingo buddy" Rhonda Hovanek at Generations Senior Living Berea. (Photo by Linda G. Kramer)"It's my bingo buddy," exclaimed 98-year-old Rhonda Hovanek, as Baldwin Wallace University junior Grant Cordle '23 knelt next to her wheelchair to pay a visit.

Cordle is a BW communication sciences and disorders major, as well as a member of BW Rotaract, which regularly visits residents at Generations Senior Living Berea.

The BW service organization, sponsored by Berea Rotary, recently hosted a Snow Ball for nearly 50 residents at the assisted living facility.

Welcome addition

Members of the BW Rotaract Club, with help from Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, hosted the Snow Ball at Generations Senior Living Berea. (Photo by Linda G. Kramer)Rotaractors have been busy at Generations for the past year, sponsoring bingo every month, plus a game night and an evening of paint and sip.

Dawn Prokop, activities director at Generations, said the BW students have been a welcome addition.

"They called here and wanted to get involved," she said. "The residents just love them."

Fraternity assist

Helped by fraternity brothers from Alpha Sigma Phi, the dozen Rotaractors gifted each lady with a wrist corsage of silk flowers. The guys got boutonnieres. They decorated the dining room with signs of winter - paper snowflakes, for example.

There was a photo booth where residents could have their pictures taken with an assortment of props, from fake mustaches and cardboard bow ties to signs such as "Let it Snow!" and "Love Winter Wonderland."

Turning up the music

Flo Ebal, right, gives BW Rotaract Club member Jake Dunstan ’23 some basic dance lessons during the Snow Ball at Generations Senior Living Berea. (Photo by Linda G. Kramer)The music mix was curated by Rotaract vice president and psychology major Maddie Robinson '23, who downloaded the playlist to her laptop. Tunes were gleaned from the 1950s and '60s and included songs by Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.

"Play it louder," several residents cried. So, they did. Residents sang along to the lyrics and danced with the students.

Dance moves have evolved over the years, and resident Flo Ebel found herself giving biology major Jacob Dunstan '23 some basic lessons in the box step.

Bingo buddies

Kaylee McKee '23, a Spanish and public health double major who serves as president of the Rotaract Club, said volunteering at the facility was "rewarding."

"We have formed attachments to the seniors," she said. "We both are getting something out of this."

As for Hovanek and Cordle, she looks forward to his visits every month. "Have you played any bingo lately?" she asked him as the party wound down.

"Not since we played last month," he replied.

Who is the better player? "Well, you know I win a lot," Hovanek confessed.

Note: A longer version of this story first appeared on cleveland.com.

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