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An Innovative Concept: College Students and Seniors Living Under One Roof

“As they open up my eyes to their world, I hope I open theirs to my world that I have lived/living of art and books, and an old lady’s perspective on life and living!” – Laura Berick, 81, Judson Manor resident

Every week,  we honor individuals who are using their voices, their hearts and their minds to Move Humanity Forward.

This week, we honor the students of Judson Manor. Judson Manor is a retirement community in Ohio that has developed an innovative concept in intergenerational living. Select students from three Cleveland-area colleges are given free room-and-board in exchange for serving as in-house musicians for the residents.

The Judson Artist-in-Residence Program developed in 2010 after a Judson board member heard about a housing shortage at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He suggested providing housing to students, so officials approached the school and offered two one-bedroom furnished apartments for students at no charge. In exchange, the student residents would perform monthly concerts at all three Judson communities in Northeast Ohio and assist with other musical activities.

Today, seven students are part of the Judson Artist-in-Residence Program, which draws from Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Art and Ursuline College. The program is for students with financial need, and the application process includes an essay, approval by CIM and an interview with a group of Judson residents, who primarily look for a good personality fit and being at ease with older adults.

While it may be far from your typical college dorm experience, these remarkable students say they wouldn’t trade their experience at Judson for the world.

Read how some of the students say this program has changed their lives:

  • “This is like a dream come true. I always appreciate the knowledge of an older generation. I feel like I’ve grown up much more quickly living with this group. I’ve learned so much from them … It teaches me how to socialize with older generations. It teaches me to slow down and to think more. Younger generations tend to rush and want to get fame quickly, but this experience really changed my perspective about it.” — Rixiang “Ricky” Huang, 22, Pianist, Cleveland Institute of Music student (not pictured)
  • “I have learned so much about what is really important in life.  Living at Judson has also helped me to come out of my shell and become a more confident and outgoing person.” — Justine Myers, 25, Oboist, Cleveland Institute of Music student (pictured front right)
  • “This experience has helped me to better appreciate the power of a single action. The little things that I do for some of the residents without really thinking about it have a great effect on them, and they will later tell me or thank me for something that I didn’t even realize I was doing. It made me realize how important my actions are. I am also, in talking with residents one on one, learning so much about their own lives and how amazing their experiences have been.” — Anna Lattanzio, 19, photography major at Cleveland Institute of Art (far right in photo)

And here is what some of the residents have to say:

  • “As they open up my eyes to their world, I hope I open theirs to my world that I have lived/living of art and books, and an old lady’s perspective on life and living!” — Laura Berick, 81, Judson Manor resident (not pictured)

  • “The artists-in-residence from the Institute of Art are much more unencumbered by conventional thinking in problem-solving.  They’re much more undaunted by challenges. You show them a problem what you think is a design problem in 2 dimensions and they’re likely to suggest a solution in 3 dimensions using materials you’d never imagine would be useful.” — Mark Corcoran, 68, Judson Manor resident (red glasses on the left)

  • “I really enjoy having their youth and energy on site with me. They have such commitment to their studies and pleasure in sharing their talents. They bring the world to us in a whole new way. Seeing things through the eyes of a college student is a treasure.  Listening to their stories and plans for the future gives fresh hope for the future.” — Clare Bechtold, 80, Judson Park resident (front left)


To learn more about the Judson Artist-in-Residence Program, go here.