WATCH: MSUM students bring classroom learning to Touchmark

MSUM students bring classroom learning to Touchmark
MSUM students bring classroom learning to Touchmark

MOORHEAD - It is easy to be critical of "those young kids." On their phones, on their gaming consoles, certainly not working as hard as we once did. And then, comes this story tonight. It's o ne of youth, life experiences, and how the two just enhance each other.

It's hard to believe these six just recently met, three MSUM students and three Touchmark residents seem like the best of friends, and they are. Laughter is everywhere.

Betsy Fowler had no idea who Mikyla Unruh was. Arline Hudson and McKenzie Durbin are now like family. The same for Jan Johnson and Cassie Pike.

Here at Touchmark in South Fargo, MSUM's Department of Social Work has a special Gerontology Program. It teams up future social workers with seniors.


"Even the first time we hung out, we talked for two hours," MSUM student Mikyla Unruh said.

"She asked me, as she says, if we could "hang out" with her," Touchmark resident Betsy Fowler said while laughing.

The seniors share stories of their families and what it is was like for them growing up.

The MSUM students share the same.

"I got to meet a grandma, I just got another grandma," MSUM student McKenzie Durbin said.

"The generations, the differences in the generations, how I grew up and my schooling and how she is growing up is so different," Touchmark resident Arline Hudson said.

As future social workers, the students get their feet wet. Senior car could be something they would like to work in.

"It increases my knowledge and just a variety in age groups and I hadn't checked into this age group until this class," MSUM student Cassie Pike said.


"We go to coffee together and we made cookies in my kitchen and Halloween bags for the residents," Touchmark resident Jan Johnson said.

And for all involved, this is a valuable learning outside the classroom. "Oh, Arline, this is beautiful," an MSUM student said, opening a gift.

Gifts exchanged between this distant generation, and the gap just seemed to disappear today.

After the students and senior started visiting, they both learned that one of the students grew up in the same Wahpeton house as one of the seniors now at Touchmark.

MSUM students bring classroom learning to Touchmark

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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