CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — To celebrate the lives of our community’s senior citizens, Juniper Village connected residents with local writers to craft personalized poems highlighting their stories.

Juniper resident Mary Joan Fetter said it was an opportunity to reflect on her experiences.

“I was fortunate,” said Fetter. “I’ve had a good life. I have a great family.”

Fetter said she’s grateful for the journeys that have led her to where she is today, but said the ups and downs can help others feel less alone.

“Nobody has a perfect life,” said Fetter. “If you’re going through a bad time and you hear a story about somebody that has been through something like that and is doing well, it’s helpful.”

Carolyne Meehan of Ridgelines Language Arts is the language artist behind Fetter’s poem.

“This is my third year working with this project,” said Meehan. “With Joanne, she had a lot of stories about a farm that she grew up on and that her family still owns and that she returns to still quite often. There was a general theme throughout her stories of generosity and of kindness and of care.”

Meehan said photos and connecting with family members, helped spark memories that hadn’t been uncovered in some time.

Residents being celebrated this year include: Joan Baisley, Ronald “Ron” Buckalew, Connie Farrell, Mary Joan Fetter, Peter Haglich, Theodore “Ted” Hovick, David Maneval, and Lanny Sommese.

This year’s Poems from Life poets include:
• Peter Buck, Penn State Sustainability Institute
• Joe Bueter, Penn State English Department
• Barbara Campbell, Author, Centre County
• Carolyne Meehan, Ridgelines Language Arts
• Kathleen Morrow, Penn State Communication Arts & Sciences, alumna
• Mary Rohrer-Dann, Penn State English Department, retired
• Camille-Yvette Welsch, Penn State English Department
• Tierra Williams, Ferguson Township Supervisor

Each poet will present their work to residents with a celebratory reading during the “Poems for Life” on Thursday, May 12th from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Juniper Village Senior Living at Brookline in the Willows Dining Room (1930 Cliffside Drive, State College, PA, 16801).

“To be able to celebrate that and share that in the greater community is a way to share our personal histories and also to celebrate the person too,” said Meehan.

“Poems for Life” is free and open to the public. Masking is required.