On Friday, December 11, InterIm CDA hosted its annual senior holiday dinner at Four Seas Restaurant in the International District. The event has taken place each winter for over a decade, and is a key part of the Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) program.
The WILD program aims to empower low-income API youth through leadership development, team building, environmental education, civic engagement, and intergenerational learning. As part of the program, API youth and elders go on day trips to explore and appreciate the natural environment. WILD youth also provide translation and interpretation services for community elders, as well as English-language tutoring.
This year, 25 young WILD participants worked together to organize the event, create a program, coordinate gift donations, and wrap gifts for about 200 local seniors. “The youth do the facilitating, translation, and all the planning,” said Pradeepta Upadhyay, InterIm’s interim executive director. “Almost all the seniors are low income, so if not for this dinner, they might not be able to celebrate the holidays at all.”
InterIm is able to subsidize the cost of tickets due to the donations of individuals and organizations. Tickets still cost $12 per person, but Upadhyay hopes that the tickets will eventually be free so that all of the neighborhood elders can attend.
In addition to eating a family-style dinner, elders also watched and participated in various performances throughout the evening. Entertainment included youth and elders singing Chinese songs together, youth playing holiday songs on violin and piano, a short play, a magic performance by a local elder, lion dancers, and a raffle. At the end of dinner, youth distributed hand-wrapped presents to all of the tables, so that every senior goes home with at least one gift for the holidays.
To inquire about joining WILD, email WILD Program Manager Jamie Stroble at [email protected].