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Cycle of giving creates connectedness for all ages

January 7th, 2020

Every senior living in community in Stettler received a Christmas gift in December, thanks to the generous spirit of the students and staff of Stettler Elementary School. On December 16th, a class of kindergarten students came to Points West Living Stettler to drop off 110 of those gifts; one for each resident. Then the fun of personalizing each gift began.

Each gift matched with a resident

Recreation Therapist Lisa Smith made up a separate tag for each gift bag - To: a resident, and From: ‘the Staff and Students of Stettler Elementary School’. Recreation coordinator Elaine Partsch checked each bag and assigned it to the resident who would most appreciate the gift inside. “It took a bit of time to go through each gift and match it with a resident,” says Elaine, “but it was worth the effort.

Big smiles and thankful tears

On Christmas Eve, the gifts were handed out. “Many residents commented that their name was on the gift,” says Elaine, “and how much they appreciated the items in the bag. One wondered how the students knew his name, and another wondered how they knew she loved crosswords. All the residents had big smiles on their faces as they opened their gifts. Some had tears in their eyes, they were so grateful.”

Thoughtful 'Thank you'

“Many residents appreciated the thoughtful gifts so much, they asked if there was any way they could say 'Thank you' to the students,” says Lisa, “so we provided them the opportunity to do so.”

The many notes of thanks written by residents were put into a slide show and sent to the school. “I know every child at the elementary school had some part in the seniors' gift project. I wanted the residents' thank yous to reach every student.”

Connectedness and meaning

“The joy brought by these thoughtful gifts had a long lasting impact on residents,” says Lisa. “And the fact that they could reciprocate with a personal ‘Thank You’ created an opportunity not only to receive care, but to give it in return – providing connectedness and meaning.”

Photo: Resident Beryl Finch (upper right) opens a gift provided by the students and staff of Stettler Elementary School (represented by this kindergarten class, lower photo), and a few of the many Thank You cards (upper left) written by appreciative residents.

More photos at Flickr: Cycle of giving creates connectedness for all ages

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