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story.lead_photo.caption Joycelyn Dowdy, right, laughs and talks with others at her table Thursday, including freshman Bria Lackland, center, and Kathy Nesmeyer. Nesmeyer took a moment to look at Lackland's phone to see a picture of Lackland's sister. The group had a lively conversation around the table. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

Sitting around a table at Primrose Retirement Community on Freedom Boulevard, Lincoln University freshman Bria Lackland chatted with Primrose residents Kathy Nesmeyer, Joycelyn Dowdy and Evelyn Baur about her experience so far as a student. The three Primrose residents smiled widely as they gave Lackland advice they wished someone had told them when they were young.

About a dozen Lincoln University students visited residents at Primrose Retirement Community on Thursday evening as part of the retirement community's fifth annual Random Acts of Kindness event.

While bonding over pizza and other goodies, students and Primrose residents said they can always learn from one another, which is why this event is so important.

"It's important for us to connect with residents who have been here and have different experiences since we're starting out and they're more experienced," Lackland said.

Those experiences don't necessarily have to be life lessons though.

At a separate table, LU freshman Tyree Stovall talked with Primrose residents Trudy Bruns and Kathryn Tetley about video games he and his friends play. The two senior citizens joked their games regularly involve cards and a table.

"This is something I think, for me at least, I look forward to every year and have these Lincoln University students come because we do learn a lot from them," Nesmeyer said. "We really, really do, and I hope they take something back from us."

Dawn Collins, life enrichment coordinator at Primrose Retirement Community, said it's important to "bridge the gap" between the youths and the elderly.

"Our residents love interacting with these young people to see what their life goals are and they just have interesting backgrounds and they enjoy sharing that," she said.

Stovall said it's important for LU students to get out into the community and talk with different people.

"It's good to give back and engage with others and represent your university and what kind of students you bring," he said.

Having those positive interactions with students also helps the Primrose residents have faith in today's society, Dowdy said.

"It's very uplifting for us to see such wonderful young people," she said. "We read about and see on TV all of these horrible things going on, and all of these wonderful experiences that you share with us, it brings us up, it really does."

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