Introducing Multigenerational Program Champion, Janice Paquette, Recreation Director


Every week, Sweetwood offers many opportunities for residents to engage with young people through a range of multigenerational programming in partnership with local educational and cultural venues. The variety is no surprise given Sweetwood’s Recreation Director, Janice Paquette’s, creative leadership.


Reflecting and connecting through multi-generational quilting:


A recent multigenerational program highlights her engagement with community members.  Janice spearheaded a multigenerational modern-day quilting bee to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, calling it “Tying our Community Together,” with the theme of reflections and connections. Sweetwood residents, students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter school, along with elementary students with their Brownies and Daisies Girl Scout clubs participated.


“I’m so proud that this project involved literally all generations!” Janice remarked. “To think that we had participants from five-years up to residents in their 80s and that everyone had so much fun, and stayed until each square was tied together into a finished quilt.”  The impact of the project isn’t ending here: this quilt will travel throughout Williamstown community venues and return to Sweetwood, a reminder of new and old friendships literally tied together.


Tying together a career as a professional dancer and activities professional:


Janice has had two successful careers: as a professional dance and as an Activities Professional working with older adults.

Originally from the Bronx, Janice trained in Manhattan from a young age to be a professional dancer. She smiles, saying, “I know how to find dance performances and musical events because I have always been surrounded by excellent quality.” Janice obtained a bachelor of fine arts from SUNY Purchase and a master’s in fine arts (MFA) from Smith College, providing an educational foundation that allows her to connect deeply with residents around cultural topics that interest them professionally and personally.

Janice taught dance in many venues before she followed her dream to open a dance school, Friends in Dance, in Williamstown. Hundreds of young people learned ballet, pointe, and creative movement from Janice. Walk down the halls of Sweetwood, and you will see that her network of local friends extends far and wide.


Building expertise with a dancer’s commitment:


A community member recognized Janice’s talents and suggested she join the activities department at a local nursing home. Janice loved the creativity of the field and embarked on a more than 30-year career in leading recreation and activities for older people. She gained multiple professional certifications in the process: Activities Consultant Certification, Memory Care Certification, and Education (Activities) Certified, and Dementia Practitioner Certification.

Jancie brightened as she said, “Serving as the Recreation Director at Sweetwood of Williamstown brings my professional career full circle.” Being a dancer prepared Janice “to organize, present, and bring an experience to people – not just an activity – but an experience and a connection.”

Because she has lived in Williamstown for more than three decades, Janice connects residents to all that the area offers: closeness to the Berkshire cultural offerings, access to dozens of walking trails, and proximity to Williams College, Mass College of Liberal Arts, Mount Greylock Regional School, Hancock Elementary School, and other local schools and youth centers.

Janice is a special member of the Sweetwood team, forging meaningful connections between the generations. She joyfully remarks: “Often people only think about young children coming together with older people, but in fact it is about multi-generational connections, all the decades enjoying time spent together.”