6th-graders make new friends at adult day care

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:16 AM

The students “adopted” The Little Red House participants earlier this month, and on Wednesday came bearing gifts — blankets, peanut butter, flexible straws, paper towels, games and other items on their wish list.

They’ll be seeing a lot more of each other: The students plan to visit every month.

“This is heartwarming and joyful,” Little Red House Operations Manager Joan Wills-Birch said after the intergenerational carol sing. “They love seeing new faces, and they feel wanted and needed.”

To see more photos from the visit, click here

Grace Hall, 91, belted out Christmas songs with the youngsters.

“We love having kids around,” Hall said. “We love children. We had ours many, many years ago — and now they’re all grown men and women. These kids are bringing great joy to our lives.”

When the students passed out pizza plates, Hall’s eyes lit up.

“This means something good is coming soon,” she said. “This is a great world today.”

The students chatted with their new friends as they ate.

Kileah Rymal, 11, said the event brought back fond memories of times with her great-grandmother, Alice Zeller, who died about a month ago.

“We used to sing together,” said Kileah, who caroled with participant Maria Maniates on Wednesday.

Lizzy Hill, 12, sang a solo version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” She said she loved singing for, and with, the day care participants.

“You should respect elderly people because you’re going to be there someday,” Hill said. “They’re so nice and there’s so much to learn from them.”

Meggi Snyder shared Hill’s sentiments.

“This makes me feel so special,” Snyder said, “and I want to make them feel special, too.”

Keller said Little Red House Executive Director Jody Herylko visited her classroom recently to talk about “ageism.” Next month, a caregiver will speak to thestudents about what it means to be able to leave her loved one at The Little Red House so she can run errands.

“The population is growing old quickly, and kids need to embrace that and share their time and talents,” Keller said. “Today, they sang and played band instruments. Next time, they’ll play Wii games during physical therapy. They’ll also do crafts and baking. I think it’s great for both the children and the people there to learn from each other and to enjoy each other’s company. The kids can’t wait to go back after Christmas.”

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