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College students live at retirement, rehabilitation home for reduced rent, community service

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) - Imagine exchanging volunteer time for rent. That's what a couple Dauphin County college students are doing at The Middletown Home. 

College students pay a reduced rent and complete 20 hours of community service a month to live at The Middletown Home. But residents say the energy and friendship the students provide is priceless.

"They're very happy," said Richard Huber, a resident in the community. "It makes me very happy that young people actually fit in with the older group, and we do have older people...my golly, one is 101."

Huber calls The Middletown Home his paradise. He's one of many residents happy to welcome college students to the retirement and rehabilitation center. 

"We have a whole different outlook when you're around young folks, because you kind of get in a rut when you're 95," said Barbara Enders, a resident at the home.

CEO Louis Vogel said since younger people work and volunteer on campus, why not try to have some live there too?

Two college students moved in this school year, and the trial worked. 

"Our vision for the future is to expand our campus whereby we have folks a little bit older, a little bit younger, all living together," said Vogel.

The students live in fully-furnished apartments in the independent living part of the building.

They volunteer to help the 180 Pennsylvanians who live at the home. 

They also share meals with residents in the dining room.  

"They listen to us," said Enders. "They would ask questions and I thought of things I haven't thought of for years."

The community says it will expand the program at a respectful pace, hoping to add a few more apartments for students in the next few years. 
     
"We're better when we're together," said Vogel. 

"I love it," said Enders.

Students who are interested in applying to live and serve at The Middletown Home should email info@middletownhome.org or call (717) 944-3351.


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