Glenarden’s Senior Citizens Are Creating Community Through Travel

By: La’Claire Cross

Cashenna Cross, mayor of the city of Glenarden, has created a new experience for her citizens.

Cross’s Forever Grand Travelers initiative was created for senior citizens to get out and travel to various locations. The program allows them to “reconnect with other community seniors who may have lost loved ones,” the mayor explained. Participants have visited sites around the state of Maryland, and have even gone to Pennsylvania. The trips have included the Pennsylvania Luray Caverns and the Harriet Tubman Museum of Maryland. 

The Forever Grand Travelers initiative was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for residents aged 60 and older. “After COVID-19, a big wave of criminal activity, particularly in our youth, prevented a lot of seniors from feeling safe and going [out] and about [in] the community,” Cross said. The program was promoted to the public in November 2023. The pricing of the trips varies depending on entrance fees to certain locations, but is otherwise free.

She believes that this program will help improve communication among senior citizens, and help alleviate fears caused by the violence within their community. She said that the Forever Grand Travelers are a way to provide the seniors with the confidence to escape their fear of the outside world and to give them the safety and security that comes with traveling with the mayor. In touring with the mayor, the seniors feel the sense of protection that comes with traveling with a public figure.

“Many of our seniors are back to their old business of taking trips and going to the shopping center instead of ordering the items online. They’re back to enjoying their life so we are moving the mission forward and ensuring that our seniors retire strong,” she explained.

Members of the Glenarden City Council also feel that the program has been successful so far. 

Councilman James A. Herring believes in the mission of the Forever Grand Travelers, but said there can be small hiccups with scheduling and can be difficult for seniors to find. Councilman Derek D. Curtis, II said that he’s “all in” on “anything” that is giving seniors the ability to travel when they are unable to do so. 

Dinah Price, vice chair commissioner of the Glenarden Housing Authority and a member of the Grand Travelers, said the program has taught her how “to be resilient when working with the elderly and that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still be active and bring value to the community.” 

“I think it was reminiscent of the time when they were younger and dealing with their grandparents and parents. The program reminds them of the historic events in their lifetimes that affected them mentally and emotionally,” she explained. “Just being in their presence was very inspiring.” 

As one of the younger attendees, the trips provided Price with inspiration. She is willing to travel for future experiences. Throughout both the Harriet Tubman Museum and the Cavers, Price’s focus was on making sure the seniors had everything they needed to enjoy the trips. She enjoyed traveling to the various locations and seeing the connection they had made with the sites. 

Edith Latimore, a Forever Grand Traveler, age 93, is pleased with the program. “Being around other people and having some others to talk to and just getting out of the house and seeing some things — that’s what I enjoy doing,” Latimore explained.

Jeanette Shannon, another Forever Grand Traveler, pointed out how “seniors are making friends and becoming one family” through the program.

Aisha N. Braveboy, the state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, believes that “we are never too old to experience something new…it’s great to get our super amazing seniors active [engaging] in our community…It’s always great to meet new friends and do things that are educational and fun.”

Cereta A. Lee, the Register of Wills, added that the program helps to “expose some who’ve never [traveled] before so they need that exposure and it keeps them in a social environment they need to have a good balance… a social life is always good.”

“When they travel, [they] network with others in their age group that’s always good, it’s a good network and good exposure to travel,” she continued. Knowing that many seniors’ communication with others is limited, the Forever Grand Travelers is an effective way to provide seniors with new experiences and connections to others. 

In the future, Mayor Cross revealed that the Forever Grand Travelers will be “going to the beach of the Chesapeake or will be going to Ocean City, Maryland.” To be notified of future events, check out the dates at City Of Glenarden Forever Grand Travelers Are Hitting The Road!


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