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Right at home

Peabody community offers warm welcome to newcomers

Created date

June 14th, 2018
The Silver Connections dinner group is one of Brooksby’s resident-led initiatives to create a warm, welcoming community. (From left) Stephanie Carnahan, Larry Carnahan, Margie Keene, Lillian Young, and Betty Roop.

The Silver Connections dinner group is one of Brooksby’s resident-led initiatives to create a warm, welcoming community. (From left) Stephanie Carnahan, Larry Carnahan, Margie Keene, Lillian Young, and Betty Roop.

Like the first day of school or the first day on a new job, every beginning offers a mix of excitement and trepidation.

“It’s a feeling that doesn’t go away, even as you accumulate more and more life experiences,” says Melanie Bernardin, director of resident life at Brooksby Village, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass.

That’s why Brooksby community members are going out of their way to make sure newcomers feel welcome and connected.

“Everybody comes in new,” says Margie Keene, who coordinates the Silver Connections dinner group. “Our goal is to provide social opportunities for those who are new to Brooksby or those who want to meet others with similar interests.”

Silver Connections meets twice a month for dinner in Brooksby’s Kingsbury Clubhouse.

“All are welcome,” says Margie. “Look for the table with the picture of a pineapple on it. We chose the pineapple because it’s the symbol for welcome, friendship, and hospitality.”

Joan Santeusanio is also taking the initiative to make connections within the community.

Neighbor-to-neighbor

“I was working when I moved to Brooksby, so I didn’t have a lot of time to get to know other residents,” says Joan. “Now I’m not working anymore, so last October I spoke with Cheryl [Whittier, community resources coordinator] about helping me plan a meet and greet for the people in my residence building.”

More than 60 people from the Canterbury Court residence building turned out for the meet and greet, which has since evolved into a monthly dinner gathering of more than 100 neighbors.

“It’s such a good feeling when you get to know your neighbors,” says Joan, who’s hoping to see the initiative spread to other residence buildings within the community. “The purpose of this neighbor-to-neighbor program is to build relationships.”

The Canterbury Court gatherings have proven so successful that a resident facilitator from Oxford Green has volunteered to organize similar meet and greets in that residence building.

“We all know how it feels to come into a new community,” says Joan. “The more we reach out, the more we find not just neighbors, but friends.”

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