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Older Adults Celebrate Diversity and Culture at International Friendship Day Event

The Lincolnia Senior Center recently hosted an inaugural International Friendship Day program. The program was the brainchild of Danilo “Danny” Lunaria and his wife Milagros “Mila.” Seeking ideas for a summer event at the center, the Lunarias were inspired by the International Day of Friendship. First proclaimed by the U.N. in 2011, this annual event was created with the goal of uniting people from diverse cultures in friendship in order to inspire peace and build bridges between communities.

With the help of Lincolnia Center staff, Danny and Mila sought to recruit members of the community to participate in the program. People were invited to share their cultural heritage in a variety of ways including presenting highlights of their history, performing a traditional song or dance, creating displays using significant objects from their countries of origin or wearing traditional dress. Danny admits that convincing people to perform was challenging but feels confident that they will be eager to sign up next year having witnessed the success of this year’s program.

 

 “This is an event that values people’s heritage.” - Danny Lunaria

For a pilot program, International Friendship Day at Lincolnia was a resounding success! The center’s parking lot was filled to capacity and seats inside were scarce. The day began with a “Gallery Walk” where people browsed displays about countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Karen Albers, director of the center, kicked off the program with an introduction which was followed by “Nations on Parade” – a fashion show of sorts where participants who hailed from a variety of countries modeled their native garb to the delight of the audience. The rest of the program was filled with a wide range of performances – from traditional dances to singing to presentations. At the conclusion of the event, when asked what he hopes people will remember about the day, Danny said “This is an event that values people’s heritage.”